Water Situation Ocean Troubled Churning Critical

The ecological world, in its many aspects and facets, can be found in literature, art, and even music. Elements of nature have appeared in artistic works past and present. One such formidable force of nature many works feature is the ocean. The sea, with all of its characteristics, is rich in symbolism and meaning. In The Last Man by Mary Shelley as well as The Tempest by Shakespeare, the authors use the power of the ocean to demonstrate the limitations of human agency when pitted against the larger forces of life (or nature); and, or, use the sea to indicate internal struggles. On the one hand, the ocean in these works can signify life or death; fairness or injustice; chaos or stability; and, alteration or stagnation. However, the ocean may also symbolize an internal state of mind. For instance, stormy seas may indicate revenge, tumult, uncertainty, or perhaps a need for change. In The Last Man, references to the sea and the ocean abound throughout the book. The spectrum of this aqueous element is expressed in phrases such as “the seas of life” to “a sea of evil” to “the ocean of death.” Furthermore, In The Last Man, readers experience Nature taking revenge against man as it pelts land with towering tidal waves for three days and three nights. Similarly, in The Tempest, Shakespeare uses the ocean not only as a backdrop but also as a preface to alert the readers of an impending change from the outset. In this play, the references to the sea are also plentiful throughout. In The Tempest, we read references such as “…th’ sea that roared to us..” to “Though the seas threaten us sometimes, they are merciful” to “sea-sorrow.” In both works, the ocean is used as an interactive symbol in the storylines. Lastly, the sea continues to make appearances in literature and the visual arts. Music videos appear to favor the ocean either in the background or as part of the storyline. A famous example, Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” music video, shows a boundless ocean, three young women who have ended up on an island, and their spiritual and physical journey. Once they complete their trials, they are prepared to leave the island. Therefore, in all three works above, those who survive the (ocean) storms of life, emerge transformed and, most likely, stronger individuals. As Ariel, in The Tempest, sings, “But doth suffer a sea change/Into something rich and strange.”

Toward A Blue Cultural Studies: The Sea, Maritime Culture, And Early Modern English Literature

Human Culture, Science of the Ocean, Art of the Sea

Full Fathom Five (Ariel’s Song)

Destiny’s Child–Survivor (Official Video) ft. Da Brat

Angry Sea Video (Imagine this in the 16th Century!)

 

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