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...
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... 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.
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