Sycorax

In Sycorax, the woman speaks to her son, Caliban, about how being pregnant with him saved her life in Algiers, where men fear a woman’s mind more than anything.  Rather than kill her, they marooned her on the deserted island where she gave birth to him.  She says she cannot remember the spell that imprisoned Ariel in a tree.  She tells how when she was a girl Setebos entered her as a blue stream of moonlight and taught her sorceries, how to control the weather, control the flow of time, and fashion a robe of invisibility.  By opening herself to the devil Setebos (devils are masks of God), she gained power to do anything, but she tells her son that what the mind creates, even magic, is nothing but a pile of cuttlefish bones.  The ravens had overheard her boasting that she could control Setebos and reported this to him and he caused the men of Algiers to banish her.  She thinks Setebos fears silence, the silence that made all things, but she misses him and thinks perhaps she was the last love of a dying god.  She warns Caliban that people are coming to the island who will hate him, not knowing who or what he is.  She says she has seen a man on a ship with a child in his arms who will try to enslave Caliban with a book.  She urges Caliban to steal the book and copulate with the man’s daughter, peopling the island with Calibans.  Seeing a red flash in the sky she thinks Setebos has come to make love to her and she leaves, telling her son not to look for her, for if he does all he will find will be a pile of cuttlefish bones.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s