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The Scrivener: Get Married, Weirdo Dad Tells Daughter, 15

Brian Barratt outlines a story which would have every tabloid newspaper editor slavering in anticipation of printing it.

To read more of Brian’s sterling articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_scrivener/

And do visit his intriguing Web site The Brain Rummager www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/

It's the sort of thing you might read about in a tabloid newspaper or see on commercial TV. A 15-year-old girl has lived with her father for most of her life. We are told nothing about her mother but it is reported that her father has a domestic servant who is physically and mentally handicapped. The servant attempted to rape the girl when she was younger. Her father kept him on but demoted him to the status of a slave and treated him brutally.

But wait; there's more. The girl's father once held a very senior position in government. He lost interest in his official duties, immersed himself in books, and started dabbling in magic — not stage conjuring, but real magic. As a consequence, he was banned from having any role in national affairs, politics and society. He was sent into distant exile, with his infant daughter.

It was here that he found his slave, whom he claimed was the illegitimate son of a woman who practised black magic. The story gets even more weird — this self-styled magician has another male employee who is, wait for it, invisible to his daughter and to the handicapped slave. He declared that he dearly loved this special servant, whom he called his chick and his dainty. What sort of man was this?

During her very sheltered upbringing, the girl had seen only two other people: her father and his repellent slave. But things changed. Under very suspicious circumstances, a passing ship floundered in rough sea not too far from the geeky group. A small group of arrogant toffs, including her father's old rivals and enemies, somehow found their way onto land.

Others found safety, too. They included an aristocratic young man. Wandering around, alone, he discovered the young teenage girl. He fell in love with her and she was pretty keen on the idea, too. Her father actually okayed this, but he didn't show his approval too eagerly. He insisted that the young chap, who had good prospects, proved his worth by doing the work of the handicapped slave. He also told the lovers that they could have sex — but not until after they were legally married.

Actually, this was written about long before the era of tabloid newspapers and sensationalist TV. The father's name is Prospero. It's all in a play by that well known writer, William Shakespeare. He called it "The Tempest". And it's well worth a second look, when you get behind the headlines — it's a story of vengeance, love and forgiveness.

This is the first of a compendium of notes and comments on Shakespeare's play "The Tempest".

© Copyright Brian Barratt 2009


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