Learning to Feel: Self-Discovery and the Quest for God in Shakespeare’s The Tempest
Christa Knellwolf King

This essay interprets Shakespeare’s play The Tempest as a forum for the re-assessment of established ideas about self and God. It examines the process by which several (but not all) characters move from a stance of self-centered disregard for others to a commitment to society and its moral standards. Learning to feel, this is to say, experiencing the emotions that are triggered by the fear of death, is described as the play’s key to the portrayal of characters that develop into responsible members of society. Referring to the tradition of the Logician sublime, this essay argues that The Tempest dramatizes deeply unsettling emotions as important experiences that guide the individual on the journey towards self-discovery and a more personal relationship with God, which were important concerns at a time when religious ideas of certainty were crumbling and had to be replaced by new epistemologies and new ideas about the self and its place in a metaphysical account of the world.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v4n1a19