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(8) While these critics focus on specific humanist topics--philosophy, ethics of government, poetic eloquence--I want to explore a variety of topics that connect some of the philosophical, rhetorical, and aesthetic features of the play as a composite humanist structure, and how such topics overlap in producing one of the most complex of Shakespeare's late plays. No one, I think, would be surprised if anthropologists discovered that the first words that came out of human mouths were “fuck you,” immediately followed by the of the spiteful taunt and the sneering comeback, some extraordinary moments stand out.In arguing for the play's strong humanist orientation, however, I am not merely endorsing humanism as a practice of learning and reading as refashioned in the play.
Histories describe a country’s events and politics, history Leutz does the same for American resolve. Repin’s painting depicts a rough bunch of exuberantly mustachioed Cossacks crowded around a rough-hewn wooden table, displaying a species of somewhat less refined than David’s, and displaying far less dread than Washington’s men do as they row their boat.
One of those occurred about 350 years ago, at the edge of a battlefield on the plains of what is now southern Ukraine.
It is a moment that inspired one of the world’s most famous and misunderstood history paintings, a sort of It took Ilya Repin eleven years to complete the painting, which he did in 1891.
Or, as Neil Rhodes has put it recently, "in The Tempest there is no centre, nor indeed any firm sense of geographical location at all." (4) Scholars have already detached The Tempest from its firm place in postcolonial criticism by reading it as a Mediterranean play.
(5) The ambiguous location of the Bermudas, between worlds, makes us wonder what the play's historical concerns really were.