Just what the heck is going on in Act One, Scene Two?

Just a quick blast (I think) regarding some directing and acting choices (or at least QUESTIONS) for Act One, Scene Two, of The Tempest.

Just what the heck is going on between father and daughter in the first half of Act One, Scene Two?

Obey, and be attentive.

Dost thou attend me?

Thou attend’st not.

Dost thou hear?
  • I.ii.38, 78, 87, 106

Throughout Prospero’s recitation of their history together, he continues to ensure Miranda’s attention.  That’s interesting enough, but by the end, he’s merely asking if she’s hearing him.

Of course, her response is less than loving:

Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.
  • I.ii.107

Is she ignoring him? And if so, is she daydreaming or doing something else to take her attention away? Is she falling asleep? Is she mocking him? Or is she listening to him, but he is insecure in the telling of his tale?

I certainly don’t think it’s the last one; ol’ Prospero seems pretty secure in his oratory skills.

I just can’t picture Miranda mocking him.

She’s doing something, and something that gives Prospero the impression of inattentiveness.

An issue for the actors and director… thoughts?

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