a hypertext of Huxley's Brave New World










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The title of Huxley's novel comes from Shakespeare's play The Tempest in Act V, scene 1.  The speaker is Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, the former Duke of Milan.  Prospero entrusted his kingdom to his brother Antonio so Prospero would be free to study magic.  Antonio took control and set Prospero and his young daughter afloat in a boat that eventually landed on an island where the play is set.     

The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that the word "brave" as used in Shakespeare's time meant not only bold, but also showy or finely dressed, something that dazzled the senses and was often used as a word of approval or praise.  Often when the phrase "brave new world" is used today, it is meant to imply positive if challenging change.  As Huxley uses it in the title of his book, the phrase "brave new world" also highlights the naive enthusiasm we can have for technological wizardry and the world of perceived control that it brings.

In The Tempest Prospero has conjured a storm to bring his usurpers to the island for some educational justice and Miranda, having only seen her father, marvels at these new men, not knowing the treachery some of them represent.   

MIRANDA: O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!

PROSPERO: 'Tis new to thee.


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