Essay on the Setting in Shakespeare's The Tempest

Essay on the Setting in Shakespeare's The Tempest

Length: 1056 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. It allows the exploration of both man’s potential and his limitations, his capacity for reform through art and his affinity for political and social realities. It is constructing this opposition between art and reality and in giving Shakespeare’s romance the freedom to explore mankind free from the concerns of everyday life that the setting of The Tempest is crucial to it’s overall dramatic design.

 

The only scene in the play that does not take place on the island is the opening tempest scene. It is in itself an important use of setting. It hints at the fact that the characters social assumptions will capitulate when exposed to adversity – we have the boatswain apparently inappropriately comment none aboard the ship that ‘I love more than myself’. In fact, quite the reverse is true. In the court scene we are presented with the characters Antonio and Sebastian who are interested in political gain despite the predicament in which they find themselves. In this respect the setting functions to present the idea that our social conditioning transcends time and place. The inference is that if political clambering can take place on an enchanted island in the middle of now...


... middle of paper ...


...gic and music.

 

The contrast between the representative characters and the magic art of the island does not resolve itself, rather, it leaves the audience in what Russ McDonald called a “marginal condition between expectation and understanding, affirmation and skepticism, comedy and tragedy”. The setting functions to present the worlds of both art and reality in order to affirm the transcendent human desire for power and order, as well as affirm the world of art as a means of dealing with reality.

 

Bibliography/ Works Cited

 

Meller, A., Moon, G.T. Literary Shakespeare (1993) Sydney: Canon Publications

 

Lecture on “The Tempest” (1988)  C. Holmes

 

Shakespeare, W. The Tempest. Ed. Sutherland, J.R. (1990)

 

Mikhail M. Morozor, (1989)“The Individualization of Shakespeare’s Characters through Imagery”, Shakespeare Survey.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay Importance of Setting in Shakespeare's The Tempest

- Importance of Setting in The Tempest   The island of magic and mystery that Shakespeare creates in The Tempest is an extraordinary symbol of both the political and social realities of his contemporary society, and of the potential for a reformed New World. Shakespeare’s island is a creation which allows the juxtaposition of real and idealised worlds, and shows his audience both what they and what they ought to be. The seventeenth century was a time of ideological upheaval in Europe, with Medieval ideas of a hierarchical and ordered society being challenged by Renaissance thinkers....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Strong Essays
1291 words (3.7 pages)

The Dictatorial Prospero of Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay

- The Dictatorial Prospero of The Tempest        Motivation often propels people to achieve high goals. Sometimes, however, motivation is too strong a tool and can manifest into selfish desires. The exploitation of the weak invariably results from the strong abusing their power, especially in a political setting. In William Shakespeare's ‘The Tempest’, Prospero is displayed as a tyrannical character who spawns a disastrous storm as part of a grand scheme to regain his title of Duke of Milan. His subsequent treatment of each character in the play, even his beloved daughter are purely based on his self-centered motives....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Strong Essays
1507 words (4.3 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]

Strong Essays
698 words (2 pages)

Essay on The Tempest by Shakespeare

- William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, is a magnificent piece of literature that explores various aspects of nature and man, illusion versus real, and deception. The Tempest was written between the years 1610 and 1611. Many believe Shakespeare based the majority of this play from the colonization that was taking place in the Americas during this time, and Montaigne’s essay Of the Cannibals. Shakespeare was able to incorporate and write, a poetic magical play showing what was going on during this time, and also how the human existence was changing due to new discoveries of other humans....   [tags: Colonization of Ariel and Caliban, Analysis]

Strong Essays
1356 words (3.9 pages)

Post Colonial Interpretations of Shakespeare’s The Tempest Essay examples

- Post Colonial Interpretations of Shakespeare’s The Tempest “…do we really expect, amidst this ruin and undoing of our life, that any is yet left a free and uncorrupted judge of great things and things which reads to eternity; and that we are not downright bribed by our desire to better ourselves?” – Longinus Since the seventeenth century many interpretations and criticisms of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest have been recorded. Yet, since the play is widely symbolical and allegorical Shakespeare’s actual intentions behind the creation of the play can never be revealed....   [tags: Shakespeare Tempest]

Strong Essays
1910 words (5.5 pages)

Essay on Importance of Language in Shakespeare's The Tempest

-    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....   [tags: The Tempest Essays]

Strong Essays
1862 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on Importance of Environment in Shakespeare's The Tempest

- Importance of Environment in The Tempest    The island is full of noises; Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight,” says Caliban. The responses which the characters in The Tempest offer to their immediate surroundings reveal much about their individual traits, at the same time they allow the audience glimpses of Prospero's island as different parts of the island are isolated in the play. The island itself and the sea that surrounds it may be seen as encompassing elemental nature and throughout the play, the elements are used to emphasize the inherent nature of characters (notably Ariel and Caliban) as these elements to an Elizabethan audience possessed "primarily certain qualities attri...   [tags: Tempest essays]

Strong Essays
1974 words (5.6 pages)

The Tempest as Shakespeare's Resignation Speech

- The Tempest as Shakespeare's Resignation Speech       In Shakespeare's, The Tempest, the character Prospero is in many ways similar to Shakespeare himself at the time he wrote the play.  Prospero, having entertained himself with his magic for most of his life, now gives up his powers as he seems to understand that his magic is no more and no less than life itself :  it is just as transitory and hollow.  This seems to reflect on Shakespeare's attitude toward play writing.  Having spent his life writing plays and being entertained by his own employment, Shakespeare finds that his plays, while they explore the themes of life and relationship, are finally no more meaningful than life itself...   [tags: Tempest essays]

Strong Essays
821 words (2.3 pages)

Four Sides of Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay

- Four Sides of The Tempest 1 "They all enter the circle which Prospero had made, and there stand charm'd" In the First Folio edition of The Tempest, at the climax of the action, Shakespeare instructs that the magician Prospero inscribe a magic circle on the bare Elizabethan stage into which all the various characters of the action will be drawn: sage and fool, monarch and savage, clown and lover, young and old, cynic and innocent. It is as if Shakespeare, through Prospero, has assembled a representative sample of divided humanity, and brought them together deliberately to re-enact the oldest of rituals and the most insistent themes of history and of psycholo...   [tags: Tempest essays]

Free Essays
1142 words (3.3 pages)

Illusion and Reality in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essays

- Illusion and Reality in Shakespeare's The Tempest This essay will discuss the part that illusion and reality plays in developing and illuminating the theme of Shakespeare's The Tempest. This pair of opposites will be contrasted to show what they represent in the context of the play. Further, the characters associated with these terms, and how the association becomes meaningful in the play, will be discussed. A good starting point to discuss the use of illusion and reality in The Tempest is to focus on the setting in Act I, scene ii....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Strong Essays
1542 words (4.4 pages)