Magical Manipulation

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Magical manipulation is out of control! Shakespeare’s most magical plays, The Tempest and Midsummer Night’s Dream, reveal two unearthly dream worlds where supernatural elements are used for magical transformations (magic, 2004). Puppet masters, Oberon and Prospero manipulate the human objects of their magical interference, to orchestrate the outcome for the wedding themed plays. The fathers and daughters in both plays have tumultuous and non-traditional relationships one with the other. This discord triggers the magic’s necessity and limits of influence in solving the problems presented. Although “Human control of magic in Shakespeare seems somewhat limited” and magic is sometimes “entirely within the control of supernatural figures who appear beyond human influence”, (magic, p.283, 284), we also discover that love works more magically than Puck’s potion or Prospero’s white magic.
Shakespeare’s focus on the settings of each play highlight the relationship between the natural world and the supernatural, magic filled worlds. The reader of these plays may find themselves enthralled in the magical experience of the wood and the island. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Queen of the Fairies, Titania, reveals this connection when she speaks of the natural world being disturbed by her quarrels with Oberon in the magical world. “ The spring, the summer, The childing autumn, angry winter, change Their wonted liveries; and the mazed world, By their increase knows not which is which. And this same progeny of evils comes From our debate, from our dissension, We are their parents and original” (2.1,111-117). The impression is that man is able to see magical manipulations or effects of the supernatural in the natural world but may not recogni...

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...end, seems to be easy and without stress. The magic of human love proves more powerful than the supernatural magic used to attempt to manipulate the lovers.


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The Tempest: Prospero's Attitude to Wonder and his "Art" of Limitation. (1997). Shakespeare & this 'Imperfect' World: Dramatic Form & the Nature of Knowing, 21-38.

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