The Tempest, like any text, is a product of its context. It is constructed in relation to moral or ethical concerns of 17th century European Jacobean society. The resolution of conflict appears 'natural' or an inevitable consequence if regarded in relation to the concerns of its context. The resolution of conflict in this play incorporates Prospero being returned to his 'rightful' or natural position as Duke of Milan, his daughter Miranda getting married to Ferdinand, and the party returning to Milan leaving the island to the 'monster', Caliban. The resolution is a consequence of the concerns of the time, including the idea of the divine right of kings, courtly love, and colonisation.
Conflict between the two brothers, Prospero and Antonio, for the powerful position of Duke is resolved when Prospero is crowned; this is presented as 'natural' through the idea of the 'divine right of kings'. In Jacobean society, the religious belief was that the King (James I at the time of this play) was divinely willed to have this position, and that there was a connection between God and the King. Shakespeare mimics this idea by often relating Prospero to God throughout The Tempest, with stage directions such as
'Prospero on top, invisible' which positions him 'close to God' and by his power to manipulate and control the lives of others:
'mine enemies are a...
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The resolution of conflict in The Tempest is thus naturalised and constructed as an inevitable consequence through the use of moral and ethical concerns in the play, including the 'divine right of kings', the 'great chain of being', courtly love,
colonising discourse and expanding territory. The Tempest thus incorporates concerns of the Jacobean 17th century context, used to naturalise the resolution.
Shakespeare, W. The Tempest. Ed. Sutherland, J.R. (1990)
"Tempest & Court Masques" By H. C. Sherwood
Meller, A., Moon, G.T. Literary Shakespeare (1993) Sydney: Canon Publications
Lecture on "The Tempest" (1988) C. Holmes
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