The Genre of The Tempest

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The Genre of The Tempest

The Tempest is customarily identified as the William Shakespeare's

last piece. These marginal issues aside, The Tempest is the forth,

final and finest of Shakespeare's great and/or late romances. Along

with Pericles, Cymbeline and The Winters Tale, The Tempest belongs t

the genre of Elizabethan romance plays. It combines elements of

Tragedy (Prospero's revenge/Loss of a royal son) with those of

romantic comedy (the young lover Ferdinand and Miranda) and, like one

of Shakespeare's problem plays, Measure for measure, it poses deeper

questions that are not completely resolved at the end. The romantic

gesture is distinguished by the inclusion (and synthesis) of these

tragic, comic, and problematic ingredients, and further marked by a

happy ending(usually concluding in a masque or dance) in which all, or

most, of the characters are brought into harmony.

The term romance is given to the comedies written at the end of

Shakespeare's career. Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winters Tale and the

Tempest. They were written between 1608 and 1612 and are different in

style to his earlier comedies. Whilst love and marriage are they key

themes in these plays, they focus primarily on the separations and

reunions of families and culminate in homecomings, reconciliation's,

rebirth and redemption. The romances are, characteristically, set in

mythical worlds, and include elements from myths and fairy tales. For

example: Long journey, Sea journeys, shipwrecks, storms, magic, lost

or stolen children, a wicked/evil family member.

The romances were heavily influenced by court masques, lavish

entertainment consisting of song , dance,...

... middle of paper ... be seen to embody regeneration and

spiritual development, for through his magic he brings about the

repentance of Antonio and Alonso, and the marriage which is to achieve

the regeneration.

Through Prospero also, the disparate styles are united. He is the

symbolic figure in which the tragic events are rooted, for he is both

victim of revenge tragedy and the hero who suffered from a fatal flaw.

So too is he the instigator of the play's romance. With his magic wand

we find he has caused the shipwreck of the first act, which initially

seemed to be rooted in realism.

The mixture of styles in both plays are, then, successfully combined.

They work together to produce a unified whole; separately and

collectively combing to 'exert [an] energy' which enhances and

balances the moral message of Shakespeare's last plays.
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