Portrayal of Ariel in the Balinese Production of The Tempest

Portrayal of Ariel in the Balinese Production of The Tempest

In the Balinese production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the character of Ariel is portrayed in a unique and captivating way, taking on a whole new element of mystery and intrigue. Unlike some interpretations of Ariel, who is often depicted as a benevolent spirit, the Balinese version of the character portrays him as a more complex and multifaceted individual.

Ariel in this production is not just a servant to Prospero, but a powerful and independent being who has his own desires and motivations. This portrayal of Ariel makes for a more interesting and dynamic character, and raises questions about the nature of servitude and freedom.



The Balinese version of Ariel, played by Jaya, represents the angry and vengeful side of the character. He is not content to simply do Prospero’s bidding, but wants to be free and stand up for himself. This choice of interpretation adds depth to the character and creates an interesting contrast between Ariel and the other characters in the play.

The Balinese production of The Tempest incorporates elements of traditional Balinese theater, such as gamelan music and dance, adding another layer of beauty and mystique to the performance. The use of gamelan music in particular has a profound effect on the mood and tone of the play, enhancing the magical and otherworldly aspects of the story.

This production also explores the theme of power and its effects on individuals. Ariel’s desire for freedom and revenge against Prospero is a reflection of his treatment as a servant. This version of Ariel does not want to be subservient any longer, and his quest for freedom and justice drives much of the plot.

Overall, the Balinese production of The Tempest, with its unique portrayal of Ariel and incorporation of traditional Balinese theater elements, offers a fresh and intriguing interpretation of the play. This version of Ariel, who is more than just a servant, but a powerful and complex character in his own right, adds depth and complexity to Shakespeare’s original text.



Portrayal of Ariel in the Balinese Production

Firstly, Ariel is portrayed as a powerful and magical being, indebted to Prospero for his freedom. This interpretation clearly illustrates the exchange of power between the two characters, emphasizing Ariel’s loyalty and devotion to his master. The Balinese portrayal of Ariel is a stark contrast to other productions, where he is often seen as a smaller, more delicate figure.

Furthermore, the Balinese production shows Ariel as a character who is treated with respect and admiration by other characters in the play. This is best illustrated in scenes where Ariel interacts with Miranda and Caliban. Unlike some interpretations, the Balinese production does not depict Ariel as a servant or subordinate, but rather as an equal to these characters.

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In addition, the Balinese production of The Tempest emphasizes Ariel’s role as a guide and helper to the other characters. He is portrayed as more than just a magical being – he is a mentor and a friend to those in need. This can be seen in the way he interacts with the shipwrecked sailors and assists Prospero in his plans for revenge.



The Balinese depiction of Ariel also shines a light on the character’s mischievous nature. Ariel is shown to have a playful and mischievous side, using his powers to create illusions and manipulate others. This adds an element of fun and excitement to the production, as the audience never knows what Ariel will do next.

Overall, the Balinese production of The Tempest offers a fresh and captivating interpretation of the character Ariel. Through its unique portrayal, it showcases Ariel’s power, loyalty, and mischievous nature. This version of the play presents Ariel in a way that both honors the original text and introduces new and exciting elements to the story. It is a testament to the talent and creativity of the Balinese theater and serves as a brilliant example of how a character can be reimagined in different cultures and contexts.

An Insight into Ariel’s Characterization

One key difference in the characterization of Ariel lies in how the character is portrayed in relation to Prospero’s control. In some productions, Ariel is shown as a loyal servant who willingly carries out Prospero’s commands, while in others, there is a hint of rebellion and a desire for freedom. This choice ultimately shapes the interpretation of Ariel, whether as a victim seeking liberation or as a villain seeking revenge.

Another aspect to consider is the emphasis on Ariel’s supernatural abilities and the effects they have on other characters. Ariel’s magical powers play a significant role in the plot, as they are instrumental in carrying out Prospero’s plans. Some productions choose to highlight these abilities through visual effects, such as projections and illusions, while others rely on the actor’s physicality and vocal range to convey Ariel’s otherworldly nature.

Of course, Ariel’s relationship with other characters, particularly with Prospero and Miranda, also plays a significant role in shaping the character’s depiction. While Ariel is often portrayed as a loyal servant, there are subtle hints of a deeper connection, especially with Miranda. Ariel’s desire to assist Miranda and protect her from harm adds another layer of complexity to the character.

One interpretation that stands out is Maritza Jaya Tyson’s depiction of Ariel in the Balinese production. In this version, Ariel is played as a powerful and mischievous deity, highlighting the character’s role as a trickster figure rather than a subservient servant. This portrayal emphasizes the threat Ariel poses to Prospero’s plans and adds an element of unpredictability to the story.

In contrast, other productions choose to portray Ariel as a more gentle and innocent creature, emphasizing the character’s desire for freedom and their eventual transformation into a small valley of monsters. These interpretations tend to emphasize Ariel’s vulnerability and the impact of Prospero’s punishment on the character’s psyche.

Overall, the depiction of Ariel in the various productions of The Tempest showcases the range of interpretations and choices that directors and actors can make. Whether portrayed as a loyal servant or a powerful deity, Ariel’s characterization adds depth and complexity to the play, making it a captivating and thought-provoking experience for the audience.

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The Unique Interpretation in the Balinese Context

The Balinese production, directed by Jaya Tyson and performed by the University of Utah’s Gamelan Jaya, explores the theme of power and its manifestations. Ariel’s depiction as a powerful entity, capable of great feats and control over natural forces, serves as a contrast to the small and threatened Ariel in other versions of the play. This contrast highlights the fear and worship that the Balinese culture attaches to powerful beings.

In the Balinese context, Ariel becomes a more complex character than a mere servant to Prospero. Rather than being enslaved by Prospero, Ariel’s allegiance to the sorcerer is an exchange based on power. Ariel serves Prospero willingly, not out of punishment or enslavement.

Furthermore, the Balinese production emphasizes the relationship between Ariel and Caliban. While on first glance these characters may seem very different, an analysis of the play reveals similarities between them. Both Ariel and Caliban are creatures of a different world, existing in a realm outside of human understanding. They both possess a connection to the natural forces and monsters of the island and play a role in Prospero’s plan to regain his apex of power.

Miranda’s description of Ariel as “an airy spirit” takes on new meaning in this production. Instead of a playful and mischievous sprite, Ariel is shown to possess a deep and threatening power. This depiction of Ariel’s character adds a layer of complexity to Miranda’s fear and fascination with him.

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Tyson’s analysis highlights the theme of enslavement in the play, and her interpretation of Ariel’s character as an enslaved spirit who serves Prospero out of fear and not out of love or loyalty. She argues that Prospero treats Ariel with more kindness and respect than Caliban, but there is still an element of punishment and control in their relationship.

One of the main differences in Tyson’s portrayal of Ariel is her emphasis on the small but important role of Jaya, a character from the Balinese gamelan. Tyson believes that Jaya represents a connection between Ariel and the Balinese culture, and adds a unique element to her interpretation of the character.

A Comparison of Depictions

In comparing different interpretations of Ariel, Tyson acknowledges that some portrayals lean towards a more villainous or mischievous portrayal, while others emphasize Ariel’s ethereal and otherworldly nature. Tyson’s interpretation falls more in line with the latter, focusing on Ariel’s loyalty to Prospero and her desire for freedom.

One of the most notable differences in Tyson’s portrayal is her characterization of Ariel’s fear of Prospero, which she portrays as a driving force behind the spirit’s compliance. Tyson’s analysis suggests that Ariel is constantly worried about incurring Prospero’s anger and facing punishment, which adds depth to the character’s actions.

The Purpose of Tyson’s Interpretation

Tyson’s purpose in portraying Ariel in this way is to challenge the traditional understanding of the character and highlight the complex power dynamics at play in the relationship between Ariel and Prospero. She aims to provoke thought and discussion about the effects of enslavement and control on characters like Ariel.

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Analysis PointsComparison of DepictionsThe Purpose of Tyson’s Interpretation
Enslavement and controlVillainous vs. ethereal portrayalsChallenge traditional understanding
Fear and punishmentDifferences in Jaya’s roleHighlight power dynamics

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Emphasizing the Difference between Good and Evil

Tyson wanted to emphasize the stark contrast between Ariel and other villainous characters in The Tempest. She explains, “Ariel represents the best of humanity, while characters like Prospero and Caliban play the role of evil. Ariel’s depiction in the Balinese production was meant to highlight this theme and emphasize the power of goodness over evil.”

For example, in one small exchange between Ariel and Prospero, Ariel is shown to choose forgiveness over revenge, which illustrates the difference in moral values between the two characters.

The Effects of Ariel’s Character on the Audience

Tyson describes how her interpretation of Ariel had a profound impact on the audience. “Ariel’s portrayal in the Balinese production created a sense of awe and admiration in the audience. Many viewers expressed how they were moved by Ariel’s fearlessness and the way she represented hope and redemption.”

She continues, “The depiction of Ariel reminded the audience that even in the face of adversity, one can choose forgiveness rather than seeking punishment. This interpretation resonated deeply with the viewers, as it challenged their preconceived notions and provided a fresh perspective on the character.”

The Relationship between Ariel and Miranda

Tyson also explores the dynamic between Ariel and Miranda in the Balinese production. She explains, “The relationship between Ariel and Miranda was portrayed as a deep and genuine connection. Ariel’s loyalty and willingness to help Miranda demonstrated the transformative power of friendship and the importance of genuine human connections in overcoming challenges.”

She adds, “Unlike other versions of The Tempest, where Ariel is treated as merely a servant, in this production, Ariel and Miranda fueled each other’s growth and development. Their bond represented the apex of the play’s themes of redemption and forgiveness.”

The Role of Gamelan Music

Tyson highlights the role of gamelan music in the Balinese production and its effect on Ariel’s character. She explains, “The use of gamelan music added an element of mystical beauty to the play. The ethereal sounds perfectly complemented Ariel’s character, representing her otherworldly nature and enhancing her portrayal as a magical being.”

FAQ

What is the portrayal of Ariel in the Balinese Production of The Tempest?

In the Balinese Production of The Tempest, Ariel is portrayed as a mythical and ethereal character. The actor playing Ariel uses unique dance movements and gestures to convey Ariel’s otherworldly nature. The portrayal of Ariel is often accompanied by elaborately designed costumes and makeup.

How is Ariel’s character different in the Balinese Production compared to other adaptations?

In the Balinese Production of The Tempest, Ariel’s character is portrayed with a stronger emphasis on spirituality and magical abilities. The Balinese interpretation highlights Ariel’s connection to nature and the supernatural world, making the character more mystical and mysterious compared to other adaptations.

What is the significance of Prospero enslaving Caliban in The Tempest?

The enslavement of Caliban by Prospero in The Tempest serves as a reflection of the power dynamics and colonization prevalent during the time period in which the play was written. It represents the subjugation of native people by European colonizers, with Caliban representing the indigenous people and Prospero symbolizing the colonizers. This theme raises questions about imperialism, oppression, and the morality of wielding power over others.

Are there any justifications given for Prospero enslaving Caliban in The Tempest?

While Prospero’s enslavement of Caliban is never completely justified within the play, there are some arguments that can be made. Prospero justifies his actions by claiming that he teaches Caliban language and civilization, thus supposedly improving his condition. Additionally, Prospero views Caliban as a malicious and rebellious creature, which he believes justifies his stringent control over him. However, these justifications are ultimately questionable and do not fully excuse Prospero’s oppressive behavior.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.