Essay on Portrayal of Utopia in The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Essay on Portrayal of Utopia in The Tempest by William Shakespeare

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Utopia in The Tempest


In The Tempest, Shakespeare allows the audience to appreciate the possibilities of utopian society, the good, and bad, so that they can understand the problems that the pursuit of a utopian environment may cause. The Tempest is a window into the dimensions of utopian societies. Shakespeare's play portrays the good and the evil sides of the perfect life. While his characters take on the role of the leaders of the utopian societies, Shakespeare portrays the social questions and beliefs of society of how a utopian environment should be.



Essential to the discussion of this aspect of The Tempest is the definition of a "Utopia". For different characters this "utopia" means different things. First of all and maybe most important of all, as it is she who says it, Miranda's utopia consists of a populated world with many other human beings in it. Other characters have a whole manner of different ideas of utopia and versions of their "utopia". Caliban's utopia changes throughout the play and Gonzalo's utopia seems somewhat confusing as he has two idea's which seem to contradict each other. One side of Prospero's utopia is an example of what society at that time believed to be a utopia. An easy existence, void of manual labor, ...


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...aid that the central utopian power in poetry equals true liberation and that it "makes familiar objects unfamiliar". However I feel that the end of the play is the true form of utopia because it truly celebrates the reconciliation of the characters from their past, with the two main themes being reformation and restoration, as the play starts in chaos and restores itself at the end.

Works Cited and Consulted

Boss, Judith E. "The Golden Age, Cockaigne, and Utopia in The Faerie Queene and The Temepest." Georgia Review 26 (1972) 145-55.



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

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