Essay on Importance of Language in Shakespeare's The Tempest

Essay on Importance of Language in Shakespeare's The Tempest

Length: 1862 words (5.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


   There are many different interpretations and differences of opinion regarding the genre of The Tempest, a play by William Shakespeare. In the essays "The Backward Voice": Puns and the Comic Subplot of The Tempest, by Maurice Hunt, and The Tempest as Romance and Anti-Romance, by Richard Hillman, the genre of the play is discussed in depth. Using elements such as setting, lines of the characters, and the action that occurs in the play, the authors evaluate Shakespeare's play The Tempest to be a romance with a "comic subplot", and thereby show how important the interpretation of the language and interaction is in finding meaning in the play.

Literary critic Richard Hillman says that, in general, romantic dramas are characterized by their fantasy-like atmosphere with love as the main focus or concern of the play, and they usually exhibit a complete disregard for normal or realistic daily life occurrences (Hillman 141). For instance, Prospero's magic is not a common human trait, in fact, it is pure fiction. Human beings have never been know to posses powers such as he does that allow him to produce vanishing banquets and have such absolute control over Miranda. Thus, this is an indicator that The Tempest is a romantic play. The whole story would not take place without the existence of magic. Prospero could not have induced the storm, and if this did not occur, then the rest of the drama would not have followed.

The Tempest's dependency on magic as a key element of the plot is evidence of the romantic genre type. Magic is an illusion, unreal, and belongs in a fantasy world, which is what a romance is largely supposed to be: one complex fantasy. According to literary critic Anthony B. Dawson, The Tempest "...contains the c...


... middle of paper ...


... becomes what the person makes it. It can be a significant or insignificant as a person wants, but the beauty in language is in the freedom it provides to express and share with others. Shakespeare shared himself through his writing and others can share also if only they look for that deeper meaning, even in things such as genre type. Anything can become as important as the individual makes it.

Works Cited and Consulted

Hillman, Richard. "The Tempest as Romance and Anti-Romance." University of Toronto Quarterly 55:2 (1985-6), 141-60.

Hunt, Maurice. "The Backward Voice: Puns and the Comic Subplot of The Tempest." Modern Language Studies 12:4, (1982), 64-74.

Palmer, D.J. Shakespeare's Later Comedies: An Anthology of Modern Criticism. Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1971.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. 1611. Ed. Stephen Orgel. New York: Oxford UP, 1994.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay on the Importance of Language in The Tempest

- 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]

Powerful Essays
1312 words (3.7 pages)

Methods Used to Introduce the Exposition and Hold the Audience's Attention in Shakespeare's The Tempest

- In Act 1 Scene 1, Shakespeare introduces setting, characters, themes and plot to explain what is happening and to grab the audience’s attention, as well as laying the ground for the rest of play. He also uses literary techniques to make his play more interesting. Shakespeare also does this through the language and style of his writings he gives to the individual characters, and also the very few stage directions. Shakespeare had very restricted assets to work with, and so needed his actors and speeches to work for him....   [tags: The Tempest]

Powerful Essays
698 words (2 pages)

Importance of Dialogue in The Tempest Essay

- Importance of Dialogue in The Tempest Dialogue is one of the most important features in a play, where the audience has the story acted and spoken out in front of them. For this reason, in a play such as The Tempest, relationships are written and constructed mainly through the spoken word. The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, in the genre of both a romance and a pastoral tragicomedy. Since Prospero is the central character of the text, most of the relationships shown and developed in the play concern him....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Free Essays
997 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on the Setting in Shakespeare's The Tempest

- 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]

Powerful Essays
1056 words (3 pages)

The Character of Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest Essays

- The Character of Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest Caliban is one of the most interesting of Shakespeare’s characters. For centuries, scholars have puzzled over the meaning and importance of this central character. Who or what is this creature. Is he a man or a beast (Peterson, p.2). Most of the people who have debated this question take the question itself at face value. Caliban is either a man or a beast. The other characters in the play dismiss him as a "poisonous slave," "savage," and "hag-seed" (Act 1, Scene 2), but that does not mean that the reader must do so as well....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Powerful Essays
805 words (2.3 pages)

The Tempest Essay

- Everyone has lost something. One of my earliest memories is a car ride through the desert of Arizona. We had just stopped at a gas station, and after we had gotten back on the road I realized that I had left behind a small toy I had gotten at McDonald's earlier that day. Even at seven years old I knew that I would forget about the toy in a day or two, but for some reason I could not help but ardently entreat my parents to return for it. It was only after I had lost the toy that I realized how much I wanted it....   [tags: Shakespeare]

Powerful Essays
1604 words (4.6 pages)

Free Tempest Essays: The Comic Sub-plot

- The Importance of the Comic Sub-plot in The Tempest The comic sub-plot has various uses for the play. It brings light relief&ndash without it, it would be a very dramatic play, if not boring. As because Prospero controls the whole island we know that nothing can really happen that he doesn&rsquot want to, so the play is lacking tension and the comic sub-plot prevents it from being a very boring play. Drunkness is amusing anyway, they fall about and say stupid things which is entertaining for us, plus this is Caliban's first drink and we recognise the feelings he expresses for this&lsquo celestial liquor&rsquo and makes it all the more funny....   [tags: Shakespeare The Tempest]

Free Essays
795 words (2.3 pages)

The Rhetorical in the Music of The Tempest Essay

- 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]

Powerful Essays
2022 words (5.8 pages)

The Court as a Framework for Civilized Society in The Tempest Essay

- The Court as a Framework for Civilized Society in The Tempest       In The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, the court is portrayed not as a place or as a group of people, but as a structure binding society together. Emphasis is placed on the court as structure by the use of the two metaphors of shape, the sphere and the circle, which combine to give the impression of the court not only as a structure with a clearly defined shape, but also as a system of hierarchical control. The first of these shape metaphors uses the neoplatonic concept of spheres, with the sovereign becoming the One Infinite Being of neoplatonic belief whose divine qualities radiate outwards in concentric circles of d...   [tags: Tempest essays]

Powerful Essays
2524 words (7.2 pages)

Essay about Main Characters of The Tempest by William Shakespeare

- ... Prospero’s magic is referred to as his art throughout the play by Miranda, “If by your art” (I.ii.1), by Caliban, “his art is of such power” (I.ii.374), and even by Prospero, “By my so potent art” (V.i.50). This reference reveals Prospero’s character as an artist rather than a sorcerer, this association is important when Prospero is equated to William Shakespeare. Similar to Shakespeare writing a play, Prospero formulates and controls the storylines and their conclusions. Prospero’s likeness to Shakespeare is seen throughout the play as Prospero uses his art (magic) to push the characters toward self-realization; parallel to Shakespeare using of his art (writing) to push the audience tow...   [tags: Prospero, Ariel and Caliban]

Powerful Essays
884 words (2.5 pages)