The Characters' Metamorphoses In Shakespeare’s Tempest-Universe

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The Characters' Metamorphoses In Shakespeare’s Tempest-Universe In the play The Tempest, Shakespeare provides a unique and alternate universe for his characters to function in on the magical island. In this universe there are both native characters: Prospero, Miranda, Ariel, and Caliban, who have lived on the island previously, and external world characters, namely: Alonso, Ferdinand, Antonio, Sebastian, Stephano, Trinculo, and Gonzalo, who have been forced upon the island. While the different characters' histories cross paths in the past, the clear and present division between the two groups' immediate situation represents the division in their differing kind of spiritual journey. That is, while the natives seek rejuvenation from isolation outward, the shipwrecked characters seek rejuvenation from the outside world inward, on an island of solitude. As David Bevington notes in the introduction to the Bantam edition of the text: Shakespeare creates in The Tempest an idealized world of imagination, a place of magical rejuvenation like the forests of A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It. Yet the journey is no escape from reality, for the island shows men what they are and what they ought to be. Even its location juxtaposes "real" world with idealized landscape: like Plato's New Atlantis or Thomas More's Utopia, Shakespeare's island is to be found both somewhere and nowhere. (xvii) In this Tempest-universe Prospero rules as a kind of artist-king, creator, and magician. Invested with these qualities he represents the God-figure of the universe, effecting change in others, while consistently demonstrating God-like qualities in himself: the ability to perform miracles, grace, and forgiveness. Ul... ... middle of paper ... ...and Dreamworks, 2000. -Eliot, T.S. The Complete Poems and Plays. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1980. -Howse, Ernest Marshall. Spiritual Values in Shakespeare. New York: Abingdon Press, 1955. -Hunter, Robert Grams. Shakespeare and the Comedy of Forgiveness. New York: Columiba University Press, 1966. -Knight, G. Wilson. Myth and Miracle: An Essay on the Mystic Symbolism of Shakepeare. London: Ed. J. Burrow & Co., LTD., 1929. -Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare: As You Like It. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997. -Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare: Hamlet. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997. -Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare: Macbeth. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997. -West, Robert H. Ceremonial Magic in The Tempest. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1964.

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