Suppressed Transmission

Our Revels Now Are Ended: The Tempest

"Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind."

-- William Shakespeare, The Tempest, IV:i:160-168

With those words, Prospero ends the masque, dismissing the spirits and gods, and dissolving his "baseless fabric." In that spirit, then, this is the last Suppressed Transmission. We close its run how we've closed each one of the last 10 years, teasing out the magic and the meaning of Shakespeare's dramaturgical delights, weaving our own insubstantial pageants and gorgeous palaces out of our own baseless fabric. Like Prospero, I crave your indulgence at the end.

"Sir, I invite your Highness and your train
To my poor cell, where you shall take your rest
For this one night; which, part of it, I'll waste
With such discourse as, I not doubt, shall make it
Go quick away -- the story of my life
And the particular accidents gone by
Since I came to this isle."

-- William Shakespeare, The Tempest, V:i:328-334

On their way back from a royal wedding in Tunis, a boat carrying notables from Naples and Milan suffers a great tempest. This storm is the creation of the spirit Ariel, bound to the wizard Prospero, the exiled Duke . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: November 7, 2008

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