Supernatural in Shakespeare’s The Tempest And Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus

Supernatural in Shakespeare’s The Tempest And Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus

Length: 3388 words (9.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Supernatural in Shakespeare’s The Tempest And Marlowe’s The Tragical History of D. Faustus


The supernatural forces are at once alike and distinct in Shakespeare’s The Tempest and in Marlowe’s The Tragical History of D. Faustus. The supernatural is kind to Prospero and his daughter Miranda in The Tempest, while the devils in Dr Faustus eagerly wait for the day that Faustus would join them in Hell. In both plays, the supernatural provides recurrent waves of sounds and feelings, lending special atmospheric qualities to The Tempest and Dr Faustus. The supernatural serves as a reminder of the hierarchies that exist in both plays, and it also illuminates the human heart, revealing the characters’ thoughts and wishes. Often appearing visible to all, the supernatural forces in The Tempest and Dr Faustus sustain the plays by providing a distinct atmospheric backbone, by reminding the characters of the existing hierarchies, and by revealing the characters’ inner hearts.

Soaked in the supernatural, Shakespeare’s The Tempest possesses an impenetrable veil of eeriness. It opens with the tempestuous roaring of thunder and lightning, setting the stage for panic and confusion amongst the mariners. The mariners scatter and hide, while Ferdinand’s hair stands on end. This wild and surreal atmosphere prepares the characters and the audience for future encounters with supernatural beings. When the spirit Ariel wakes Gonzalo and the others, Gonzalo says, “’Tis best we stand upon our guard, or that we quit this place. Let’s draw our weapons” (II.i.317-318). The mortals are on guard against the supernatural, and this suspenseful atmosphere often returns when Ariel and the other spirits approach these unknowing men. When Prospero remembers ...


... middle of paper ...


...ory of D. Faustus are about the relationship of the two worlds. By creating an eerie and sometimes humourous atmosphere, the supernatural gives the plays points of interest. The existing hierarchies between mortal and immortal are not to be destroyed, and the supernatural beings in these two plays reinforce the rules. By revealing the characters’ hearts and minds, the supernatural drive the plot as well as the actions of the individual characters, so that without these beings, these two plays would grind to a standstill.

WORKS CITED

Marlowe, Christopher. The Tragical History of D. Faustus. In Renaissance Drama: An Anthology of Plays and Entertainments. Edited by A.F. Kinney. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 2002.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Greenblatt, Stephen. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 1997. 3055-3107.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus

- “No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from.” A rather straight forward quote from George Eliot, yet, one in which with its simplicity describes Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus well. It’s not the evil which dooms us but our own lack of desire, and will to stop. That which is evil is our doom us. Written in a time when anything not of the church was considered wrong Marlowe is able to bring out the views and attitudes of the time while ascribing the human condition with its wants, and its sometimes fatal after decisions....   [tags: christopher marlowe, evil, angel, dr. faustus]

Powerful Essays
1023 words (2.9 pages)

Shakespeare's The Tempest and Marlowe's Doctor Faustus Essay

- Shakespeare's brilliant portrayal of Prospero's use of magic and power continues to draw both readers and audiences with The Tempest's many meanings and interpretations. As a main character, Prospero, is a person that many people can identify themselves with, with his want to achieve his desires and gain power over others through the use of magic. It is this identification that exceeds Shakespearean works, with The Tempest both emulating and presenting themes from other works in the Elizabethan period....   [tags: Power, Magic, Literary Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1886 words (5.4 pages)

Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus

- Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus For a play that has retained much of its scholarly value over the four hundred and ten years, there is surprisingly little known about Christopher Marlowe’s masterpiece, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus. The date of its first performance is unknown, and is highly obscured by the added facts that there are two texts of Doctor Faustus, one published in 1604; the other in 1616 (Ribner viii)....   [tags: Marlowe Doctor Faustus Essays]

Powerful Essays
1683 words (4.8 pages)

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus Essay

- In Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Faustus tries to reach divinity through knowledge; this desire drives his pact with Lucifer. Adrian Eckersley proclaims in his literary journal, “Why doesn't Dr Faustus just repent. Adrian Eckersley compares Marlowe's unrepentant sinner with Claudius in Hamlet,” that once Faustus obtains supreme knowledge he is nothing special. This is not the case; the character, Faustus, obtains awesome familiarity in subjects only shared by God and the Devils....   [tags: Marlowe, literature, divinity]

Powerful Essays
1164 words (3.3 pages)

Shakespeare's The Tempest as a Microcosm of Society Essay

- The Tempest as Microcosm of Society       The Tempest is one of Shakespeare's most universal plays and, not coincidentally, is very much concerned with human behavior and emotion. As John Wilders observes in The Lost Garden, “Prospero’s island is what the sociologists call a ‘model’ of human society. Its cast of characters allows Shakespeare to portray in microcosm nearly all the basic, fundamental social relationships: those of a ruler to his territory, a governor to his subjects, a father to his child, masters to servants, male to female, and the rational to the irrational within the human microcosm itself" ([London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1978], 127)....   [tags: Shakespeare The Tempest]

Powerful Essays
1254 words (3.6 pages)

Shakespeare's Tempest - A Tired and Dated Work? Essay

- The Tempest: Immortal Classic or Tired and Dated Work. Why do educators hold the works of Shakespeare in such high regard. Should The Tempest be considered an "immortal classic". Indeed Shakespeare's works had great significance in the evolution of English literature, but these works, including The Tempest are mostly devoid of significance and literary value in the present day. One can expect to gain little appreciation for fine literature from the reading of Shakespeare's works for reasons enumerate....   [tags: Shakespeare Tempest]

Free Essays
1045 words (3 pages)

Analysis of Shakespeare's The Tempest - A Jungian Interpretation Essay

- A Jungian Interpretation of the Tempest   Shakespeare’s Tempest lends itself to many different levels of meaning and interpretation. The play can be seen on a realistic plane as a tale of political power and social responsibility. It can be seen as allegory examining the growth of the human spirit. The Tempest investigates marriage, love, culture. It is symbolic of man’s rational higher instincts verses his animal natural tendencies. This is a play of repentance, power, revenge and fate that can also be seen as fantasy, dream, imagination, metaphor or magic....   [tags: Shakespeare The Tempest]

Free Essays
2401 words (6.9 pages)

Shakespeare's The Tempest - Is Prospero Good or Evil? Essay

- Tempest:  Is Prospero Good or Evil?     To be able to answer this question we must first understand why Prospero can be seen as good or evil. It is fair to say that Prospero is a main protagonist to the plot of Shakespeare’s Tempest. It is due to Prospero's role as a key figure in the play that has put him under so much scrutiny. Many different Shakespearean critics have their own view of Prospero and those that read or see the play also have their own opinion of the way in which Prospero may be seen....   [tags: Shakespeare Tempest]

Free Essays
1001 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about Analysis of Shakespeare's The Tempest - Caliban and Trinculo

- Psychoanalytic Analysis of Caliban and Trinculo of The Tempest    From a psychoanalytic perspective, both Caliban and Trinculo of Shakespeare’s The Tempest are interesting characters. Caliban is very sexual and bitter, while Trinculo is at odds with everything: his situation of being washed ashore and wrongly accused of saying things when he did not utter a word, as well as Caliban’s worship of an unkingly man, his drunken friend Stephano. Caliban has obviously not had all of his desires trained to stay within him, despite Prospero’s punishments and Miranda’s schooling....   [tags: Shakespeare The Tempest]

Free Essays
511 words (1.5 pages)

Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay

- The Tempest raises many questions regarding the formation of authority and power. Is hierarchy understood as natural or as constructed. Also, what are the consequences when authority is usurped. This paper will attempt to answer these questions in a succinct manner using textual references to solidify its arguments. As the play progresses, Prospero constructs the hierarchy in such a way as to return things to their "natural" state. Any type of usurpation, whether attempted or successful, will always end up with power back in its rightful place, and most of the time with a lesson learned....   [tags: Tempest Shakespeare]

Powerful Essays
1719 words (4.9 pages)