Shipwreck Islands – Chaos and the Shadow

Reflect on the elements of chaos and the shadow in the environment and characters of The Tempest.

HMC 230

The Tempest, a play by Shakespeare can be interpreted as one man’s journey toward individuation. It’s a magical play where the family related main characters interact with the environment in a dream like island setting.

After reading the play and our reading on Chaos and Shadow from, Sandplay in Three Voices, I did some drawings to process the new information. I found a similarity between my drawings and the characters in the Tempest. The focus of my drawings is the relationship between the boat and island.

t first I draw the storm / shipwreck of Ferdinand and Alonso.  The encounter between ship and island is chaos and destruction as it crashes into rocky cliffs. In this transition a powerful other (Prospero) is in control. Once the ship has been broken the survivors are stranded on the island, disoriented and powerless. I relate to this mostly on an emotional level, when one belief does not match with another. My joyful momentum crashes and disintegrates against the other’s established vision. I experience unexpected confused chaos when my morals/values conflict.

“That these factors, the personal urge toward an ethical reaction and the moral code, are not identical, becomes more obvious only when there is a so-called collision of duties… But there is no general ethical rule, and that is a conflict of duties: the duty to tell the truth and the duty to spare the patient.” (von Franz, 1995, p139)

My last drawing was of a raft that was anchored to the beach. I was imagining that this shipwreck survivor had the foresight to secure a lifeboat and the luck to find an island and navigate toward it’s sandy shores. Once I looked at this beach scene I immediately felt the difference in the relationship between the boat and the island. In this scene the survivor arrived in their boat, in one piece, and can leave the island again. I see this relationship of boat to island like that of Prospero and Miranda. He was exiled but made a home on the island, retained a sense of purpose and control over their lives, and had a plan for the situation.