The Utopian Solution in The Tempest Essay

The Utopian Solution in The Tempest Essay

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    The entrance of The Tempest into theatres between 1610 and 1611, signifies a possible correlation between Shakespeare's play and the colonization of the ideal New World. Before analyzing the courtly order and utopian theme in The Tempest, it is important to understand the politics and culture of the court in the early 17th century. The society that Shakespeare emerges from plays an important role in the themes portrayed in The Tempest, because it leads to the utopian solution to the political and class conflict.

    The definitions of politics and culture have changed drastically since the 17th century in Great Britain. The freedom of Americans to play an active role in politics and government greatly contrasts the role of the English during the time of The Tempest. Shakespeare lived in a time of government sovereignty, where the role of the people in politics was dependent upon their social (class) status. In "Political Culture," David Harris Sacks asserts that, "the 'sovereignty of state,' consisting solely in governmental powers, is understood to be a feature of a commonwealth, not the commonwealth as a whole" (Sacks 118-19). The lack of involvement of the majority of the commonwealth supports a problematic issue that the role of the people in government was dependent upon their social class, which presented an obvious inequality amongst the political system. The problems facing the commonwealth and the government lead to conformity and complacency amongst the people, but Shakespeare had writing to overcome the ceiling on social class. Shakespeare's plays, specifically The Tempest, test the boundaries of politics and class order and tend to portray Shakespeare crossing from a conformist to a humanist. Shakespeare us...


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    David Scott Kastan. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1999. 100-116.

Gervinus, G.G. "A review of The Tempest." Shakespeare Commentaries. (1877):787-800. Rpt. 

    Scott. 304-307.

More, Sir Thomas. "Utopia." The Longman Anthology of British Literature. Vol 1. Ed. David 

    Damrosch. New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc., 1999. 637-706.

Platt, Peter. "Shakespeare and Rhetorical Culture." A Companion to Shakespeare. Ed. David 

    Scott Kastan. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1999.  277-296.

Sacks, David Harris. "Political Culture." A Companion to Shakespeare. Ed. David Scott 

    Kastan. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1999. 100-116.

Snider, Denton J. "A review of The Tempest." The Shakespearian Drama a Commentary:

    The Comedies. (1890). Rpt. Scott. 320-324.

 

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