Will Shakespeare: The OG of Insta-Love
“I’ll look to like, if looking liking move” ~ Juliet, Romeo and Juliet
Apparently, looking is all it takes. Too bad for Paris that Romeo got there first. I do wonder, if Romeo and Juliet hadn’t died if Romeo would have fallen in love with the next pretty face he came across. I mean, he quit pining for Roseland the second he seen Juliet.
The annoyance at the romance between Romeo and Juliet is nothing compared to that between Miranda and Ferdinand in The Tempest. The story thus far, when the two meet:
- Ferdinand has washed up on the island occupied by Prospero, Miranda, Ariel, and Caliban after a storm, created by Prospero, destroys the ship (but not really) that Ferdinand, his father and their friends are on.
- The other members of the ship are intentionally kept separate from Ferdinand, and each other. There are essentially two factions, sans Ferdinand, who are planning on going all Lord of the Flies on each other.
- Ferdinand thinks his father is dead and he has become king
Enter Miranda. Ferdinand declares her the goddess of the island and asks if she is indeed real. When Miranda confirms she is a maid, he offers to make her his queen. They have known each other less than 5 minutes and he doesn’t even know her name and proposes marriage.
Now, keep in mind, this play takes place over the course of three hours, as revealed by Alonso at the end of the play.
How thou hast met us here, whom three hours since / Were wracked upon this shore (5.1.157-158)
This is important, because, a short time after meeting, Miranda and Ferdinand basically have a brief handfasting ceremony that, per customs of the time, legally binds them as legally married.
Talk about moving fast. Contemporary romance authors who use the insta-love troupe could lean a thing or two from Shakespeare. This man was the OG and he took it to levels no one else has dared.
Seriously, Will, what the hell? We’re supposed to believe this is a “happy ever after” love story at the point they leave the island when they have known each other for THREE HOURS?!? I mean, they didn’t end up dead like Romeo and Juliet, so there is that.
Why is this not talked about? Everyone is more interested in reading this play through a post-colonial or psychoanalytical theorical lens and focusing on Prospero and Caliban. It is a bunch of “Oh hey, Shakespeare was inspired by exploration and colonization when he wrote this so that is what we will focus on.”
I am also sick of reading scholars who say crap like, “One can’t really do a feminist reading of The Tempest because Sycorax is dead at the start of the play.” What is Miranda then? I mean other than a dumb girl who married the first guy she has ever met, probably within an hour of meeting him. I mean, that act alone could be read as a feminist thing. She also offered to carry wood for Ferdinand where he could rest, but Ferdinand was a sexist dolt who was all, “You’re a girl, you shouldn’t be doing physical labor Carrying wood is man’s work.” Oh, and she disobeyed her father by telling Ferdinand her name.
This play seriously enrages me on so many levels. Prospero is a psychiatrists nightmare. Caliban and Ariel are probably suffering some kind of PTSD from enslavement and abuse. The royal friends of the king are a bunch of back-stabbing opportunists. Miranda and Ferdinand are delusional. I take it back. I totally understand why everyone wants to do psychoanalytic readings of this play.