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Tempest: Film Narrative

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2016
Bea Wood Hall
Classroom Number
BW 226 Jim Hoggard Rm
Days & Times

MW 9:30-10:50 AM

Dr. Peter Fields (view Profile)


The Tempest
Evans Shakespeare Edition/Ed. Grace Tiffany
Course Objectives

 Catalogue Description

Prerequisites: Six hours of English beyond 1123 or consent of chair. A study of one or more of the elements of narrative as expressed in selected films May be repeated for credit with changed content. 

II. OBJECTIVES English Department Goals

GOAL 1. Critical Inquiry

Objective 1.1:  Student engages in an increasingly sophisticated discourse and demonstrates aesthetic and critical discernment through close textual analysis.

Objective 1.2:  Student evaluates secondary sources and applies skills in information gathering and management, and document design, using traditional sources and emerging technologies.

GOAL 2.  Knowledge of Language and Literature

Objective 2.1:  Student understands the usage and structure of the English language.

Objective 2.2:  Student recognizes the stylistic techniques that distinguish key literary texts relevant to subject and genre.

Objective 2.3:  Student is familiar with the legacy of important ideas and contexts associated with literary periods.

Objective 2.4:  Student is introduced to academic and professional publications in the field.

GOAL 3.  Writing as Process

Objective 3.1:  Student reflects on his or her arguments over multiple stages of development.

Objective 3.2:  Using traditional resources and emerging technologies, the student references and formats primary and secondary sources in MLA style.

GOAL 4.  Engagement

Objective 4.1:  Student is aware of a cultural context for his or her own values and those of his or her sources.


Course Expectations

The Journal Responses: Students will keep a typed journal (hole-punched and in the brads of a folder) comprising SEVEN entries (one for each of the six in-class films, plus a personal choice). Each entry should be formatted according to MLA style standards for in-body citing (see models in this syllabus). 

Each entry strives to answer this question: What does this movie help us understand better or more deeply about Shakespeare’s The Tempest? Length: 2-3 pages typed for each movie. CONNECT specific scenarios with telling details to key passages in the play. No Works Cited

The Seventh Movie Entry & Four Monday Night Showings at Moffett Library: Students need to write a seventh journal entry about any movie they feel is relevant to The Tempest (same prompt question). It can in turn be the basis of a Blue Book or the Research Paper (same prompt question). 

The four Monday night showings at Moffett Library are part of the curriculum and students can bring them to bear in their journal entries about the daytime movies. The fourth showing is the controversial adaptation Prospero’s Books and might serve well as the basis of the seventh journal entry.

The Two Blue Books (IN-CLASS OPEN BOOK):

Each Blue Book further develops one of the journal entries and answers the question: What does this movie help me see more clearly in Shakespeare’s The Tempest? Blue Books should not focus on the same DVD as a previous Blue Book or the Research Paper. Students may bring their notes and/or include an outline on the inside Blue Book covers (but NOT a pre-written essay). In-body citation should be consistent with the MLA-styled models in this syllabus. Students need to draw on at least TWO items (other than the play) in our critical edition; in addition, they may draw on special features in the DVDs. Length: 4-5 paragraphs. No Works Cited. NO SOURCES ALLOWED FOR BLUE BOOKS OTHER THAN OUR CRITICAL EDITION AND THE DVDS.

The Research Paper (see examples of MLA in-body citing & Works Cited later in this syllabus):

The research paper uses one of the journal entries as it point of departure. The paper makes a deeper argument because the student re-examines the entry’s original thought and answers this question: How has my thinking developed in regard to this movie and Shakespeare’s The Tempest? Length: 5-10 pages typed (8 paragraphs) w. Works Cited           

The Research Paper is confined to articles from the Moffett-supported databases, books in the Moffett stacks, related DVDs in our schedule, and secondary material available in our critical edition. Students may allude to and cite material from the special features in the DVD (and related DVDs). Other sources need instructor approval. The DVDs (except for the one we’re watching) are available on reserve at the Moffett Library circulation desk. 


Tiffany, Grace, ed. The Tempest. By William Shakespeare. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage, 2012. Print. Evans Shakespeare Editions.


Grading: The journal entries count 30 percent (10 percent for each due date). The research paper counts 30 percent. The first Blue Book is 20 percent and the final Blue Book is 20 percent.

Grading Standards

Grading: The journal entries count 30 percent (10 percent for each due date). The research paper counts 30 percent. The first Blue Book is 20 percent and the final Blue Book is 20 percent.

Final Exam 05/09/2016 8:00-10:00 AM
Submission Format Policy

The EIGHT PARAGRAPH Research Paper

First Paragraph (followed by Block Quote): The introductory paragraph begins with the student’s argument: What does this movie make me think about in regard to themes and motifs in Shakespeare’s The Tempest? The argument’s rationale includes at least some of the key points which the rest of the essay will develop at length. The second half of the first paragraph should set the scene for the Block Quote (long verbatim passage pushed an extra inch to the right) which will follow. This part of the introductory paragraph should clarify who is speaking and all the needful plot and character points that we need to know in order to appreciate the Block Quote. 

The Julie Taymor version of The Tempest features Helen Mirren as a female Prospero, or Prospera, and puts a special emphasis on Prospero as someone who is benevolent (if all-powerful) and unjustly betrayed by the people closest to him/her. Without a doubt, the change of gender invites a more sympathetic response to this character than we might otherwise feel. Shakespeare’s magus/magician figure as male father seems at first glance the ultimate “control freak” and the embodiment of everything we associate with an egocentric patriarchal figure. Many may feel upon first encountering the play that Duke Prospero is arbitrarily preoccupied with obedience, and otherwise harsh and belligerent. But the very same speeches—the very same diction and phrasing—as delivered by Helen Mirren significantly soften Shakespeare’s portrait of parental authority—and godlike power—and we instead become more judgmental of those who betrayed Prospero/a and his/her daughter, Miranda. Indeed, we suddenly realize that Shakespeare all along had been giving us a Renaissance magician who was renouncing, or letting go, of his power over people and the elements—not grasping for it. Caliban, for his part, emerges as someone who by the end of the story is not so much dispossessed by Prospero/a as rejected and left behind, a young adult who has won by self-destructive attrition his independence from the only person (besides his mother) who cared about him as a child. When we think of Prospero/a not as father but as mother, we suddenly feel that Caliban has thrown away a close, personal relationship to a providential figure who meant the best for him until he became more than a handful. Like a teen-ager in our own time, Caliban seems to throw away a loving family (especially if we see the parental demigod as feminine). All he feels is hostility and resentment, and he deliberately takes his time answering the beckoning of the caring parent/god whose authority he resents to the point of being destructive of his own happiness and best interest:

BLOCK QUOTE (for more than three lines of poetry; more than four lines of prose) follows the first paragraph: Instead of quotation marks, indent the whole passage one inch (10 spaces) on the left. TIP: Type in the verbatim passage normally. Then highlight with cursor, click on “Paragraph,” and for Indentation (left), type 1.0 in the box. Make sure it is double-spaced.


                                                        I must eat my dinner.

This island’s mine by Sycorax my mother,

Which thou tak’st from me. When thou cam’st first,

Thou strok’st me and made much of me; wouldst give me

Water with berries in’t; and teach me how

To name the bigger light, and how the less,

That burn by day and night; and then I loved thee

And showed thee all the qualities o’th’isle,

The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place and fertile.

Cursèd be I that did so! […] (1.2.331-339)

Parenthetical reference: (1.2.331-339) means act one, scene two, lines 331-339. Once we know the act and scene, we simply use the line numbers in parentheses.


The second paragraph finishes discussing the block quote and then brings in at least four short quotes which are not part of the Block Quote: 

Before he learned about the universe and how to think and express himself in language, Caliban was a happy-go-lucky creature who delighted in being loved, not unlike a pet or a small child. Under Miranda’s tutelage, the universe opened up to him and he increased in understanding. He went from a witch’s gibbering young progeny “not honor’d with / A human shape” (284) to being a remarkably articulate, if rebellious rival to Prospero. Very importantly, as Caliban grew up with Miranda, she also imparted a sense of justice to him. The ironic result was that he increasingly felt that he had been robbed. Miranda reminds Caliban that before she taught him all things, he lacked the ability to reason and “wouldst gabble like / A thing most brutish” (356-57). The difference between who he was now and who he had been included the ability to form words: “I endow’d thy purposes,” she said, “With words that made them known” (357-58). But Caliban ironically resents the knowledge that gave him reason and language: “The red-plague rid you,” he says, “For learning me your language!” (363-64).The situation got completely out of hand when Caliban presumed he could press Miranda into copulating with him to fill “This isle with Calibans” (351). The parenthetical numbers are lines in Act One, Scene Two.

DON’T FORGET: The third paragraph continues to support the student’s argument and utilizes four more (never before used) SQs.

NOTE: DO NOT LEAD WITH A QUOTE: “You do look my son, in a mov’d sort, / As if you were dismay’d; be cheerful, sir,” (4.1.146-47) said Prospero to Ferdinand in order to reassure him that nothing horrible was going to happen when the vision of Juno, Iris, and Ceres suddenly vanishes. 

LEAD WITH YOUR THOUGHT and follow with a quote: When Prospero realizes Caliban and his co-conspirators are close at hand, he angrily interrupts the magical wedding pageant of Juno, Ceres, and Iris. When Prospero notices that Ferdinand is frightened by the anger of a man who apparently controls the elements, he has mercy on him and speaks tenderly as a father might to his son but with a very respectful tone: “You do look, my son, in a mov’d sort, / As if you were dismay’d; be cheerful, sir” (4.1.146-47).

Notice the forward slash between lines. For poetry, verbatim passages shorter than four lines are NOT set off in a block quote—we use quotation marks instead.           

The fourth and fifth paragraphs bring in TWO secondary sources (essays or prefaces) from our critical edition. Attribution below is highlighted to demonstrate its importance: 

Miranda loves her father, but she has trouble trusting him because he seems (in her view) to lack empathy. At the same time, he has the power of a god to control the elements. She’s not afraid for herself—she fears for the world. Therefore, she has come of age as a self-appointed counselor or advisor to her father, attempting through passionate appeal and carefully-argued, persistent advocacy to keep her demigod father in check. She seeks to balance his authority with her gushing compassion as when she bemoans the ship tossed by the miraculous storm: “O! I have suffered / With those that I saw suffer” (1.2.5-6). She must through much cajoling and lamenting save the world from her father. Grace Tiffany, the editor of our critical edition, argues in the introduction that Prospero is a relentless control-freak with a “driving impulse to control all the beings of the island” (37). Tiffany sees Prospero as someone of tremendous power who nonetheless spends his life discovering and bumping up against the profound limits of his godhood. He can compel the spirits, but he cannot take the place of the biblical God who cares even for the fallen sparrow. Shakespeare’s 1610 audience—the Jacobeans, or subjects of King James—would be acutely attentive to the limits of humankind’s power to imitate or take the place of the biblical God: “But the Bible-literate Jacobeans would have understood the powers of both Prospero and Ariel to be allowed and, finally, circumscribed by God” (39). When quoting from prose (like the supplemental materials in our book), we do not set off verbatim language in a block quote unless it is five lines of our typing or longer.

NOTE: Our critical edition has Bible verses and some very short items—they are fine to use IN ADDITION to two ACTUAL prefaces or essays in our book.

SIXTH & SEVENTH PARAGRAPHS: Students draw on TWO secondary sources outside our book. These sources are from the Moffett Library book stacks or the Moffett-supported databases. Non-Moffett-related sources may work in their place, but the instructor (or the Faculty Partners) must approve them. For instance, blogs and movie reviews on the internet may be very useful—but they should be approved by the instructor or Faculty Partners. Below is the use of a scholarly article available through the Moffett databases:

According to Brian Sutton, in his article “‘Virtue rather than Vengeance’: Genesis and Shakespeare’s The Tempest” for Explicator, Shakespeare seems to have in mind the story of the great dreamer, Joseph. Like Joseph, Duke Prospero is a dreamer—a visionary—undone by sibling rivalry (225-226). In Sutton’s view, what’s crucial here is that the dreamer does not take vengeance. The dreamer’s forgiveness restores everyone to God’s favor, going well beyond the conflict of one set of brothers. Sutton explains that the dreamer’s grace means the possibility of heaven’s providence for ages to come: “Last, in their entire experience with betrayal, exile, redemption, and reconciliation, Joseph and Prospero are instruments of a divine plan to save not only the current generation, but also its descendants” (227). The ultimate power lies not in capturing or holding, but in graciously setting our brothers free. In The Tempest, Prospero sets everyone free and then turns to the audience, asking that they do the same for him: “Let your indulgence set me free” (Epilogue 20).

PARAGRAPH EIGHT: No new citing of sources is required here. In this paragraph, students clarify and go into depth once more regarding the themes and motifs of The Tempest that the movie has highlighted and emphasized.

Works Cited

Hyphens (---) indicate the same author as the entry directly above it.

To create the hanging indent, students should highlight the entry, click on “paragraph,” and then under “Special,” click on “hanging” and “double-spaced.”

For journals, 52.8 (2009) means volume 52, issue number 8, and the year 2009.

Cross reference: for an anthology, the MLA cross reference method prescribes the entry itself under the editor’s name (see Tiffany, Grace below). Then each entry from the anthology (including the play itself) is indicated separately (e.g., James, Anna).


(Sample) Works Cited (MLA cross reference model)

Abrams, Richard. “The Tempest and the Concept of the Machiavellian Playwright.” Tiffany 211-33.

Fickman, Andy, dir. She’s the Man. Screenplay: Ewan Leslie and Karen McCullah Lutz, and Kirsten Smith. Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Ewan Leslie. Music: Nathan Wang. Music Supervisor: Jennifer Hawks. Production Design: David J. Bomba. Costume Design: Katia Stand. Perf. Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, Vinnie Jones, Robert Hoffman, Brandon Jay McLaren, James Kirk, Julie Hagerty, and Emily Perkins. Dreamworks, 2006. DVD.

Jameson, Anna. From Miranda. Tiffany 206-209.

McAnuff, Des, dir. The Stratford Shakespeare Festival: The Tempest. Directed for television by Shelagh O’Brien. Prod. Design by Robert Brill. Costume Design by Paul Tazewell. Perf. Christopher Plummer, Trish Lindström, Dion Johnstone, Gareth Potter, Julyana Soelistyo, John Vickery, Timothy D. Stickney, James Blondick, Bruce Dow, Geraint Wyn Davies. Melbar Entertainment, Bravo! and eOne Films, 2011. DVD.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Tiffany 73-143.

Slights, Jessica. “Rape and The Romanticization of Shakespeare’s Miranda.” Tiffany 257-77.

Sutton, Brian. “‘Virtue Rather than Vengeance’: Genesis and Shakespeare’s The Tempest.” The Explicator 66.4 (2008): 224-29. Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 August 2010.

Taymor, Julie, dir. The Tempest. Screenplay by Julie Taymor. Produced by Julie Taymor, Robert Chartoff, and Lynn Hendee. Production Design by Mark Friedberg. Caliban’s make-up by Matthew W. Hungle and Richard Redlefsen. Harpy Prosthetics by Mike Marino and Dave Presto. Visual Effects by KyleCooper. Music by Elliot Godenthal. Costume Design (“zippers”) by Sandy Powell. Perf. Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Reeve Carney, Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, David Strathairn, Tom Conti, Alan Cumming, Chris Cooper, and Ben Whishaw. Touchstone/Miramax, 2010. DVD.

Tiffany, Grace. Introduction: “Some Meanings of the Play.” Tiffany 29-48.

---, ed. The Tempest. By William Shakespeare. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage, 2012. Print.


PROPER FORMAT (Submit revised essays hole-punched, fixed in the brads of a folder):

  • All typed documents must be 12 point Times New Roman double-spaced.
  • For header and page number in the .5 default position: click on “insert,” then “page number,” “top of page,” and “plain number 3.” The cursor will show to the immediate left of the page number. Simply type your last name, and it will magically appear. Space once between name and number.
  • Top, right, and bottom margins should be set at one inch; the left margin should be an inch and a quarter to accommodate the folder. NOT A HEADER: On the first page of an essay, the student name, instructor name, course, and date should be in the upper left, double-spaced. These items do not appear on subsequent pages.
  • Students must submit their work in person (from their hands into the instructor’s hands). Submission for a due-date is never by e-mail attachment or under the office door, or left on a desk, or by surrogate (classmate or relative). Late work also must be submitted in person.
  • JOURNAL and RESEARCH PAPER ASSIGNMENTS should be submitted hole-punched and fixed in the brads of a normal folder with pockets.
  • Put the graded BLUE BOOK in one of the folder pockets when submitting the folder for later journal due dates and for the research paper.
  • For the research paper due date, complete print-outs of online database sources like Academic Search Complete (with key passages highlighted) are provided in the pockets of the folder. If students are using books from the Moffett stacks, photocopies of title pages and high-lighted pages (esp. those that are quoted) are in the pockets too.
  • Work submitted apart from these guidelines will not be evaluated and must be resubmitted (correctly) and penalized for lateness.
  • By enrolling in this class, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.
  • Dr. Fields reserves the right to ask students to send him a computer file of their research project and/other work by e-mail attachment for archival purposes.
  • Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

Late Work

An assignment is late if submitted after the class period it is due. If late by one period, the assignment will be penalized 10 points. If late by two class periods, the essay is penalized 20 points (the penalty is capped at 20 points). All work must be submitted in person (not by e-mail or surrogate). No late work may be submitted after the FINAL EXAM. A class period is officially over when the instructor dismisses it. All late work must be submitted IN PERSON.

If students are too ill to submit their work personally, they should submit it when they return to class. They may avoid penalty for late submission by obtaining documentation from a relevant professional in a timely fashion (e.g., a doctor or the Dean of Students’ office). NOTE: Documentation cannot excuse an absence—only the lateness of an assignment. Students may also bring the due document to class and then be excused due to illness—no penalty.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

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Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Students are well-advised to attend the classroom sessions as well as the four evening sessions at Moffett Library in February.


Other Policies

Academic Dishonesty & Writing Too Close to Source

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT POLICY: Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")–whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. 

Plagiarism and Proper Documentation

Any use of a non-documented source as if it were a student’s original work is considered plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Plagiarism can be of ideas; it can be of exact phrasing. In either or both cases, if the student has failed to acknowledge the source in the body of the essay and to document it in the Works Cited, the grade will be a “0” (no points) for the assignment even if the rest of the assignment is original and use of other sources properly documented. Upon being informed of the plagiarism, the student is no longer welcome in the class. The student may withdraw from the course with a penalty-free “W” if available; if not, the student must cease attending and the grade will be whatever points the student has accumulated minus the plagiarized document and any other tests or assignment as yet not completed (which are forfeit).  If the student continues to attend, the instructor will contact the Dean of Students or Student Conduct office and withdraw the student with a WF. 

Phrasing that is too close to the student’s own documented sources.

Students who reproduce the phrasing of their documented source(s) as if it were their own phrasing will be penalized for language that is too close to source. Students can use terminology they find in their documented sources, but four words in a row are too much without quoting. Verbatim use of a documented source must be confined to QUOTES set off with quotation marks or ten extra spaces on the left if the verbatim passage works out to be five or more lines of student typing or handwriting. All such quoting requires parenthetical page numbers if provided in the source. Even if page numbers are not provided, the language must be clearly attributed to the author and set off by quotation marks or an extra ten inches on the left.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Calendar Attachment

ENGL 4543 Tempest & Film Narrative Spring 2016-20160120-155150.doc

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at