Compared to plays written for public playhouses, The Tempest offers a unique emphasis on music. Hiring extra musicians, along with the time constraints usually resulted in small attention given to this area (Long 95). Given the large degree of detail allotted to music in the play, it is believed the audience to have been upper class, however, music of The Tempest serves a variety of functions beyond that of mere entertainment. By exploring the evidence provided in The Tempest, we can reveal some of these functions that music serves in the play.
Direct roles of music in The Tempest:
Music in The Tempest is utilized by Ariel to manipulate his victims in a number of ways, one being a sleight of mind. Take away the enchanted island and Prospero's magic and music still holds a quality which enhances or detracts from one's mood; similarly, Ariel's songs seem to have a way of creeping into the mind of the listeners, but his gradually changes their very thoughts. Our first evidence of how this manipulation functions is Ariel's song sung to Ferdinand:
This music crept by me upon the waters,
Allaying both their fury and my passion
With its sweet air; thence I have follow'd it,
Or it hath drawn me rather. (1.2.391-95)
The music begins to work by evoking a state of passion, then playing upon this heightened sense of emotion, Ferdinand is drawn in a manner which seems similar to that of the call of the sirens. Ariel's playing and singing while invisible allows the music to be felt like a subtle presence, perhaps coming from the island, perhaps his own mind. Ferdinand is not sure whether it comes from the wat...
... middle of paper ...
...hich the play leads, it is the conflict in the struggle for the power it represents, and the resolution in the harmony it provides.
Gervinus, G. "A review of The Tempest." Shakespearean Criticism 8 (1877)
Johnson, W. "The Genesis of Ariel" Shakespeare Quarterly 11.3 (1951): 205-10.
Long, John. Shakespeare's Use of Music: The Final Comedies. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1961.
"Other Voices: The Sweet, Dangerous Air(s) of Shakespeare's Tempest." Shakespeare Studies 24 (1996): 241-74
Palmer, D.J. The Tempest. London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1968.
Scott, Mark. Shakespearean Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1989.
Smith, Hallett. Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Tempest. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1969.
The Riverside Shakespeare. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Sound in The Tempest and the New Orthodox View Critics have offered varying evaluations of the characters in William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Some consider Prospero to be magnanimous for forgiving his enemies, for freeing Ariel from the confines of a tree, and for treating Caliban with great sympathy until the monster's attempted rape of Miranda. Others view Prospero as an oppressive colonizer and consider both Caliban and Ariel to be his innocent and mistreated subjects. In his article "Reading The Tempest," Russ McDonald argues that the new orthodox interpretation of The Tempest, "which exalts the colonized, is as narrow as the old, which idealizes and excuses the colonizer"... [tags: Tempest essays]
1298 words (3.7 pages)
- The Rhetorical in the Music of The Tempest In the midst of a Shakespearean play, there has and always will be a ghost that hovers over the actors and the audience. This is a ghost with a purpose, a ghost I call rhetoric. In every Shakespeare play, there exists an energy that has the power to persuade the audience to feel or believe something that Shakespeare believed. This energy breathes through the dialogue, the props and especially the music. The audience and the play engage in an exchange of question and answer to assist society in working through human dilemmas.... [tags: Tempest essays]
2022 words (5.8 pages)
- ... However, it reveals that they found her diary in which she wrote about a fight that she had had with him before he left for Cheyenne. After hearing the news that her husband had been killed, it drove the woman crazy because she had told him she did not care if he never made it back home to California. The final verse of the song gives a very dreary feeling that the woman’s soul was never able to be put to rest because of the pain, love, and regret that she went through after her husband had passed.... [tags: country music greats]
2026 words (5.8 pages)
- Shakespeare is one of the greatest artists the human race has ever produced. In the Tempest, he decides to determine which is more powerful – art or nature? He symbolizes art through civilization and nature through man and his natural place on Earth. Through the plot, Shakespeare reveals his own beliefs concerning which force is greater. The Tempest shows the respectable differences between art and nature, but eventually concedes that art is weaker and must bend itself to nature. In The Tempest, Shakespeare’s Prospero has gotten himself into trouble by entertaining an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Prospero’s downfall was brought about because he valued knowledge and art over pu... [tags: Tempest essays]
1138 words (3.3 pages)
- Importance of Setting in The Tempest Shakespeare’s enchanted island in The Tempest is a restorative pastoral setting, a place where ‘no man was his own’ and a place that offers endless possibilities to the people that arrive on it’s shores. Although the actual location of the island is not known, the worlds of Seneca aptly describe it’s significance to the play – it represents the ‘bounds of things, the remotest shores of the world’. On the boundary of reality, the island partakes of both the natural and supernatural both the imaginative and the real.... [tags: Tempest essays]
1056 words (3 pages)
- William Shakespeare's play The Tempest utilizes extensive imagery which goes beyond merely creating atmosphere and background or emphasizing the major themes of the play. The supernatural plays a considerable role in the play, thus so does the use of imagery, which is more extensive and somewhat different from many other of Shakespeare's works. The imagery is used as a mediator of supernatural powers, to emphasize the natural scene of action, and establish the enchanted island which becomes vivid through such a wealth of single features and of concrete touches.... [tags: Tempest essays]
3744 words (10.7 pages)
- The Tempest was written when masques were becoming exceedingly popular in England, and were often performed at weddings to honor marriages. The Tempest is heavily influenced by elements of the masque, and can be performed with the same purposes as one, although it is far too rich to be classified simply into that genre of plays. In masques the use of spectacle was extensive. The Tempest reflects this in many ways. The very first scene, Act I scene i, is that of a ship in action, and requires elaborate special effects to convey a sense of realism.... [tags: The Tempest Essays]
1007 words (2.9 pages)
- The Importance of Language in The Tempest In discussing Derrida's view of Western literature, Geoffrey Hartman writes that "Western tradition has been marked . . . by a metaphysics of light, by the violence of light itself, from Apollonian cults to Cartesian philosophies. In the light of this emphatic light everything else appears obscure; especially the Hebraic development of aniconic writing and self-effacing commentary of textuality" (xix). This point is well illustrated by the nature of Prospero's power in The Tempest for his control of natural and supernatural forces is achieved through book-learning the bringing to life of Logos.... [tags: Tempest essays]
1312 words (3.7 pages)
- Caroline F.E. Spurgeon says that an image "is a description or an idea, which by comparison or analogy, stated or understood, with something else, transmits to us through the emotions and associations it amuses, something of the 'wholeness', the depth and richness of the way the writer views, conceives or has felt what he is telling us." Images not only show emotion and give associations, but they can also give the reader a better understanding of a theme. Thematic imagery connects to the underlining message in a work.... [tags: The Tempest Essays]
726 words (2.1 pages)
- Ariel and Allegory in The Tempest The temptation to regard The Tempest as an allegory has proved irresistible to critics, although opinions differ on what it might be an allegory of, and what the principal figures might represent. In this essay I wish to discuss the character of Ariel, who has received less attention than either Caliban or Prospero. If The Tempest is an allegory then each of its characters should fulfil some representative function. Prospero is generally associated with the playwright (or even, which amounts to much the same thing in some views, with God) as he controls the action on stage.... [tags: Tempest essays]
1612 words (4.6 pages)