Sunday, January 25, 2009

Exiled earl may have been the model for Prospero - Times Online

Exiled earl may have been the model for Prospero - Times Online

Stewart was implicated in plots to kill the King and was rumoured to be heavily involved in witchcraft and sorcery. In 1590 he was said to have dressed as the devil during a witches' sabbath, and cast a spell, summoning up a storm - just as Prospero did - in an attempt to wreck the king's ship. He failed, and James survived to ascend the English throne as well 13 years later. Stewart was imprisoned.

Mr Moffat believes that Shakespeare may have heard the stories of his eccentric behaviour from King James's jester, Archie Armstrong, a high-ranking member of the king's court who is thought to have inspired the character of the fool in King Lear.

“In 1590 Francis Stewart appeared in a pulpit at North Berwick Kirk dressed as the devil and summoned a storm to sink the King's ship,” said Mr Moffat. “That incident is the starting point of The Tempest. There you have an exiled nobleman, who is also a necromancer, who summons up a storm to sink the ruling Duke's ship. The similarities between the accounts and Shakespeare's plot are striking. It is very likely Stewart is the inspiration for Prospero.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Irrony Observes The Earthing.