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Brave New World

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Brave New World



The Tempest


Had I plantation of this isle, my lord—

I' th' commonwealth I would by contraries

Execute all things, for no kind of traffic

Would I admit; no name of magistrate;

Letters should not be known; wealth, poverty,

And use of service, none; contract, succession,

Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;

No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;

No occupation, all men idle, all,

And women too, but innocent and pure:

No sovereignty—

…All things in common nature should produce

Without sweat or endeavor; treason, felony,

Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine

Would I not have; but nature should bring forth

Of its own kind, all foison [bounty], all abundance

To feed my innocent people.

…I would with such perfection govern, sir,

T'excel the Golden Age.

—The Tempest (Act II, scene 1)

 



Root club, Southeastern Pennsylvania, late 19th - early 20th century

Inspired by the story of a Bermuda shipwreck in 1609, The Tempest explores the complexities of planting a “brave new world” on foreign soil. Like the shipwrecked counselor Gonzago, Europeans dreamed of the possibilities in this seeming Garden of Eden: a landscape unspoiled by human exploitation, a people free of class divisions, and a culture without implements of war. Yet like the magician Prospero, the Europeans came to their new home with an instinct for power and with secret knowledge that would help them acquire it—especially the technologies of steel and gunpowder that lay at the foundation of the European military system.

 

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