Sycorax in The Tempest

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In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the background characters hold great importance in the overall plot of the play. Characters such Sycorax establishes the setting of the play, providing the readers with background knowledge leading up to the play. Sycorax, in many ways, serves as a mirror image to Prospero. However, as Frey and Skura suggests in their literatures, The Tempest reflects much about the events happening in the real world (Frey, Skura). The life of Sycorax is a representation of what’s happening in the Old World as well as the New World. In Act I Scene 2, we learn about the nature of Sycorax through the speeches between Ariel, Caliban and Prospero. Caliban claims that Sycorax was the first to arrive upon the island, and thus giving her the ownership to the island (Shakespeare 1,2,331). Trained in the arts of magic like Prospero, Sycorax takes over the island through her witchcraft. Prospero describes Sycorax as an old and foul witch, whom is feared and hated by the residences of the island (Shakespeare 1,2,258). It was Sycorax whom maliciously enslaved the spirits of the island in the first place, and her actions would lead to a series of events which explains the existence of Caliban and his savage behaviours, as well as the bonds between Prospero and the local spirits. Without the existence of Sycorax, Prospero would not have had the services of Caliban nor the spirits. Thus the survival of Prospero and Miranda would’ve been jeopardized, and the events to follow would not have occurred. As well, the great tempest conjured by Ariel would not have been present, and the King and his men would’ve had a safe passage, unaware of Prospero’s presence. Without the existence of Sycorax, the play cannot exist. Sycorax also ref... ... middle of paper ... ...rospero again. Caliban would never have been born, and Prospero would not have lived to tell his tale. Sycorax also provides the reader with the opportunity to evaluate the potential hidden meanings of the play. Maybe it is a reflection on the North American settlement, or maybe it is to criticise the fascist ideologies. Nevertheless, just because Sycorax is not present in the actual production of the play does not mean her roles can be replaced or ignored, for she is the source of speculations. Work Cited Frey, Charles. The Tempest and the New World. (1979): page 30-41. JSTOR. Web. 04 Feb 2011 Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Second Revised Ed. United States of America: First Signet Classics Print, 1998. 1-87. Print. Skura, Meredith A. Discourse and the Individual: The Case of Colonialism in the Tempest. (1989): page 42-69. JSTOR. Web. 06 Feb 2011
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