Essay on Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Tempest

Essay on Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Tempest

Length: 1431 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Tempest

 
      Many scholars argue that, along with Shakespeare’s other late romances, The Tempest is a play about reconciliation, forgiveness, and faith in future generations to seal such reconciliation. However, while it is clear that the theme of forgiveness is at the heart of the drama, what is up for debate is to what extent the author realizes this forgiveness. An examination of the attitudes and actions of the major characters in the play, specifically Prospero, illustrates that there is little, if any, true forgiveness and reconciliation in The Tempest.

We must first set a standard by which to judge the effectiveness of forgiveness in the play. Undoubtedly, the most important Christian lesson on the true nature of forgiveness can be found in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount:

But I say to unto you which hear, love your
enemies, do good to them which hate you
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them
which despiseth you… For if ye love them
which love you, what thank have ye? For
sinners also do even the same. But love
your enemies, and do good, and lend,
hoping for nothing again… (Luke 6:27-35)

Prospero’s conduct from the moment the play begins seems to contradict the basic tenets of Christian forgiveness. Fortune has brought his enemies within his grasp and Prospero seizes the opportunity for revenge. “Desire for vengeance has apparently lain dormant in Prospero through the years of banishment, and now, with the sudden advent of his foes, the great wrong of twelve years before is stirringly present again, arousing the passions and stimulating the will to action” (Davidson 225). While it is true that Prospero does not intend to harm anyone on the ship, and asks...


... middle of paper ...


...l of us ourselves,
Where no man was his own. (5.1.204-12)

With these words of hope invested in the new royal couple, Alonso and Prospero rejoice together as the play comes to a close. But, despite the traditional happy ending befitting a Shakespeare comedy, ultimately, we are left with the feeling that true forgiveness and reconciliation have not been realized.

Works Cited

Davidson, Frank. “The Tempest: An Interpretation.” In The Tempest: A Casebook. Ed. D.J. Palmer. London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1968. 225.

Kermode, Frank. Introduction. The Tempest. By William Shakespeare. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1958. xlii.

Solomon, Andrew. “A Reading of the Tempest.” In Shakespeare’s Late Plays. Ed. Richard C. Tobias and Paul G. Zolbrod. Athens: Ohio UP, 1974. 232.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Ed. Frank Kermode. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1958.

 

 

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Exploring the Themes of Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Tempest by William Shakespeare

- Exploring the Themes of Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Tempest by William Shakespeare Prospero is a character that seems to stand at the very centre of The Tempest. Throughout the play, he prompts most of the action, and he has the last word. The entire plot of the play is a scheme designed by Prospero to bring his rivals to a state of regret so that he can pardon them and restore the rightful order of things to his dukedom of Milan. As Prospero is seen as being all-powerful over the island, he could easily destroy or punish his enemies by any method or means....   [tags: Tempest William Shakespeare Essays]

Powerful Essays
1407 words (4 pages)

Resolutions of Forgiveness, Repentance and Reconciliation in Shakespeare's The Tempest

- Stephen Orgel, in the Oxford World Classics Introduction of The Tempest, says that the resolutions of forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation through the harmony of marriage that Prospero has undertaken to achieve are not completely met. This is true as not all injuries are forgiven, and certain characters fail to repent for their wrongs. The marriage does not completely achieve its role of reconciliation, as we have to question its origins and stability. In The Tempest Prospero has orchestrated events in such a way as to resolve the injustices and injuries that have occurred to him and his daughter, Miranda....   [tags: literary analysis, literary criticism]

Powerful Essays
1388 words (4 pages)

Themes of Forgiveness in The Tempest by William Shakespeare Essay

- The Tempest has many themes including reconciliation and forgiveness However, while it is clear that the theme of forgiveness is the main theme of the play, what is up for debate is to what extent the author realizes this forgiveness. After reading the attitudes and actions of the major characters in the play, specifically Prospero, little, if any, true forgiveness and reconciliation is shown in The Tempest. A strong Christian lesson on the true nature of forgiveness can be found in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount: But I say to unto you which hear, love your enemies, do good to them which hate you Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despiseth you… For if ye love them which love y...   [tags: reconciliation, christian, revenge]

Powerful Essays
627 words (1.8 pages)

An Overview of The Tempest Essays

- The Tempest was originally performed in late 1611, and was published in its current form in the First Folio of 1623. It is the one play by Shakespeare not derived from one or more of the many sources commonly utilized by all playwrights of the Elizabethan era, although a contemporary German play possesses an analogous exile theme. The story of the shipwreck was probably taken from Sir George Somers' narrative of a Bermuda shipwreck of 1609. The play itself is a masque-like comedy; it far surpasses the majority of those traditional pieces with similar themes which were continuously being updated by other writers of Shakespeare's day....   [tags: The Tempest Essays]

Powerful Essays
1542 words (4.4 pages)

The Tempest Essay

- People often go looking for a copy of The Tempest, by William Shakespeare; they often have trouble finding it because everyone classifies it differently. Some people feel it is a play based on history and politics. Some feel that it is a romance because of the relationship between Ferdinand and Miranda. Others consider it a masque because of Act IV Scene i. Some consider it a tragedy because of how the play opens and turns out even though it turns out that no one dies in the end. There are those who consider it a comedy because of how some of the scenes turn out to make fun of the characters and how Ariel and Prospero are playing games with everyone’s mind....   [tags: Shakespearean Literature ]

Powerful Essays
2241 words (6.4 pages)

Themes in the Tempest Essays

- Themes in the Tempest     The Tempest is generally considered to be Shakespeare's last sole-authored play. The play draws a number of oppositions, some of which it dramatises, and some of which it only implies. Prospero, a figure exhibiting many resemblances to the Elizabethan idea of the 'Mage', (of whom the best known is probably Dr. John Dee), is opposed to both his corrupt brother, usurper of his role as Duke of Milan, and to Sycorax, an evil witch and mother of the 'deformed slave' Caliban....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Powerful Essays
1284 words (3.7 pages)

Ariel and Allegory in The Tempest Essay examples

- 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]

Powerful Essays
1612 words (4.6 pages)

Analysis of Shakespeare's The Tempest - The True Villain Essay

- The True Villain of The Tempest On June 2, 1609, five hundred colonists set out in nine ships from Plymouth in association with the imperial Virginia Company. It was the aim of this expedition to fortify John Smith's colony in Virginia. While eight of the party's vessels securely arrived at Jamestown, the flagship, called the “Sea Adventure” , was conspicuously absent. This ship --which carried the fleet's most valuable cargo, the admiral Sir John Somers and the future governor of Virginia Sir George Somers --was separated from the other eight during a fierce storm off the coast of Bermuda, the legendary Isle of Devils, dreaded by superstitious sixteenth-century sailors....   [tags: Shakespeare The Tempest]

Free Essays
993 words (2.8 pages)

Opposition between Art and Reality in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay

- Opposition between Art and Reality in The Tempest       The Tempest is a self-reflexive play that explores the boundaries of art and reality. Shakespeare's island is a realm controlled by the artist figure; where the fabulous, the ideal and the imaginative are presented as both illusory and palpable, and where the audience is held in an indeterminate state, a "strange repose". The juxtaposition of the world of art with political and social realities explored by representative characters is the central contrast of the play, and is foregrounded by the use of non-verbal techniques....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Powerful Essays
1078 words (3.1 pages)

Tempest Essay

- The Tempest According to Elizabethan beliefs an individual's social position was more or less fixed. The King was King as he had been given a mandate by God, and all positions below this were based on a rigid social hierarchy, which were also dictated by birth. This ideology was decidedly conservative and used politically as a means of social control: forcing people with less status to internalise their inferiority and subservience, assuming it part of the natural order of the universe. Any rebellion, personal or collective, was therefore seen as an act of defiance not only against the State but God....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1463 words (4.2 pages)