The Tempest Analysis

737 Words3 Pages
Significance of The Tempest in the modern world

The Tempest by William Shakespeare is a pastoral tragicomedy written in 1611 during the renaissance period. The particular context that Shakespeare intended and the audience interpreted when the play was written are different to the audience interpretation today. The ideas we understand from viewing the play today are different to the ideas the first audience understood from viewing the play 400 years ago. For example, the derogatory manner in which Shakespeare portrayed women may seem unacceptable in a modern play. The various meanings in The Tempest demonstrate the difference in the distinct readings found in the text today and the meanings simulated by viewing the text from a historical context.
One meaning that is applicable in the same way during the 17th century and modern times now, is the idea of how there are always lessons to be learnt about your true nature and always ways to improve upon yourself. The ruler of the magical island and central character, Prospero, largely influences this idea. Prospero, as the self-proclaimed mentor of the people who have recently entered the island, teaches everybody a lesson about themselves in order to make them better people. For example, it is uncertain exactly how much love Ferdinand and Prospero’s daughter Miranda share and how much of the love was engineered by Prospero, but by using love, Prospero turns the otherwise arrogant Ferdinand into a respectable young man. Prospero gives Ferdinand menial tasks to do such as carrying firewood, freezes him with his magic wand and keeps him in chains for a while. In doing this, Ferdinand realizes to what extent he would go to win Miranda over as his wife and exclaims ‘…might I but through...

... middle of paper ...

... of island, was the apparent heir until Prospero came along. Caliban exclaims, ‘This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother, which thou tak'st from me’ and this is also another example of the taking of power. However, this is not indicated wrong in the text since Prospero is a cultured man who is displacing nothing but a ‘monstrous tortoise’. In a more modern interpretation, Prospero could be seen as a racist slave driver, keeping Ariel too as his servant. Prospero could also be seen as an overprotective father who ruled his daughter’s life. At that period of time this behavior of his would be considered normal so it is important to keep context of the time and place the play was written in. Miranda, however, is closer to the modern image of a ‘maiden’ as she is outspoken and never taught to behave quiet and self reserved as women those days were expected to act.

More about The Tempest Analysis

Open Document