Shakespeare's Use of Language, Imagery and Setting to Illuminate Prospero's Journey from Revenge to Reconciliation

Shakespeare's Use of Language, Imagery and Setting to Illuminate Prospero's Journey from Revenge to Reconciliation

Length: 1188 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Shakespeare's Use of Language, Imagery and Setting to Illuminate Prospero's Journey from Revenge to Reconciliation

The Tempest opens on 'a ship at sea' caught in 'a tempestuous storm'.
This setting would immediately suggest to the Elizabethan audience,
the presence of danger and evil, as they would be familiar with other
Shakespearian plays where storms have been used in this way, for
example, Macbeth and King Lear. The desperate language of the
characters in the opening scene would further reinforce the audience's
sense of evil afoot. The panic of the Boatswain is illustrated when he
cries 'A plague upon this howling' and the terror of the passengers
down below can be heard as they cry 'Mercy on us!' 'We split, we
split'. The feeling of chaos is further reinforced by the use of
language such as, 'howling', 'roarers' and 'drowning'. To the
audience, the storm would signify a disturbance in the Natural Order,
suggesting that God was upset or angry with certain individuals who
have disrupted an ordered hierarchy. This would lead them to suspect
that the play would probably involve elements of revenge.

The fact that the opening scene takes place at sea during a storm
would also have been significant to the Shakespearian audience. The
idea of a sea-change was common in writing at this time and was used
as a motif to suggest that following a shipwreck or disaster at sea,
anyone surviving the event would emerge as a better person, with the
opportunity to have a fresh start in life, almost like being reborn.

The imagery in the opening scene is violent and dark, suggesting a
need for revenge and also creating anticipation amongst the audience...


... middle of paper ...


...for is his final act as a magician and following this
act he is able to renounce his 'rough magic'. The disturbance in the
Natural Order, present at the start of the play, is restored, as the
sea again becomes calm and Prospero, having rejected the idea of
taking vengeance, forgives those who have wronged him and is restored
to his lawful position as Duke of Milan.

In The Tempest, Shakespeare successfully uses evocative language, dark
imagery and a magical setting to lead Prospero on a journey from
revenge to reconciliation. The audience is led skilfully from a
threatening start, through a period of anticipation to the final
conclusion, where the situation is resolved positively for all
characters without the need to resort to acts of vengeance, which at
the start of the play appeared to be the only possible outcome.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »