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. For the dynastic powers, including England under Elizabeth I, colonialism was an important opportunity to realise territorial ambition and prove religious pre-eminence. To Shakespeare, colonialism was an opportunity for mankind to explore the extraordinary possibilities of the human mind, free from the conflict and prejudice of real life. Just two years before The Tempest was written, British colonists were shipwrecked on a Caribbean island, and their report of the paradise and magic they found there is one of many popular writings of the time that may have had an influence on The Tempest.
In The Tempest, Shakespeare adheres closely to the classical unities of time, place and action. The unity of place required that the scene should remain unchanged throughout the play. The entire action, with the exception of the first scene, is confined to the island. The storm of the first scene symbolizes a transition in the lives of the characters, and establishes their relationships with each other and with a world in a state of disorder. The initial reactions of the characters when arriving on the island are important metaphors for the ideologies they h...
... middle of paper ...
...neously on many aspects of an audience’s sensibilities. With elements of supernatural music, dance, sound effects and movement in every scene of the play, the audience would never forget that the island is set apart from reality.
As isolated as the island of The Tempest may be, its characters are representative of people in our own society. The social disorder in which they find themselves becomes an exploration of their aspirations – some have unique ideas about a perfect way of life, while others are merely products of a hegemony of political clambering in the imperfect society from which they come. Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest is more than an artist’s farewell; it explores the endless possibility of our minds and our endeavours, as mankind enters a “brave new world”.
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. New York: Penguin Books, 1987.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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]
1056 words (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]
698 words (2 pages)
- 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]
1974 words (5.6 pages)
- The Tempest by Shakespeare is a play about a king, Prospero, and his daughter, Miranda, and their exile from their kingdom. They have been betrayed by fellow kin and allies and forced to find refuge at an enchanted island (Shakespeare). With the help of a magical being named Ariel, Prospero attempts to take revenge against those who betrayed him and his daughter (Shakespeare). In Act I scene II of the play, Prospero and Miranda confront Caliban who is their servant on the island (Shakespeare). This same scene is illustrated in a painting called The Enchanted Island, Before the Cell of Prospero by the artist, Henry Fuseli.... [tags: The Tempest, Moons of Uranus, Caliban]
1116 words (3.2 pages)
- 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]
1862 words (5.3 pages)
- In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the background characters hold great importance in the overall plot of the play. Characters such Sycorax establishes the setting of the play, providing the readers with background knowledge leading up to the play. Sycorax, in many ways, serves as a mirror image to Prospero. However, as Frey and Skura suggests in their literatures, The Tempest reflects much about the events happening in the real world (Frey, Skura). The life of Sycorax is a representation of what’s happening in the Old World as well as the New World.... [tags: shakespeare]
1364 words (3.9 pages)
- The Tempest was written when masques were becoming exceedingly popular in England, and were often performed at weddings to honor marriages. The Tempest is heavily influenced by elements of the masque, and can be performed with the same purposes as one, although it is far too rich to be classified simply into that genre of plays. In masques the use of spectacle was extensive. The Tempest reflects this in many ways. The very first scene, Act I scene i, is that of a ship in action, and requires elaborate special effects to convey a sense of realism.... [tags: The Tempest Essays]
1007 words (2.9 pages)
- 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]
1612 words (4.6 pages)
- Home vs. The Exotic in Shakespeare's The Tempest Home. Just the word conjures up feelings of familiarity and comfort, a place that is welcoming and memorable. Does home necessarily have to represent a place. Rather, can it encompass a multitude of feelings and objects that represent comfort and ease. The post-colonial novel often strives to strike a balance, whether it be uneven, between what is considered foreign and exotic and that which is homely and familiar. Post-colonial literature frequently is representative of the interplay between characters' experiences in an exotic environment versus those at home.... [tags: Shakespeare Temptest William Essays]
2283 words (6.5 pages)
- On Wednesday April 24th I attended the University of Southern Mississippi’s production of The Tempest, written by William Shakespeare in 1610. Shakespeare’s The Tempest syndicates a mixture of comic and tragic styles, integrating components of both romance and realism in a way which varies significantly from the style and mode of his earlier plays. However, in the end of The Tempest all the obstacles are overcome and an air of comedic relief precedes the finale. This play can be categorized as an Elizabethan Romantic comedy with hints of adventure and magic.... [tags: comic and tragic literature]
610 words (1.7 pages)
- Villains, Sin, and Sex in Shakespeare's Othello and King Lear
- Humanity and Reason in Othello
- Voice and Ambivalence in Bless Me Ultima and Baby of the Family
- Internet - Ethics of Hacking
- Sharing the Blame in Shakespeare's Macbeth
- The Frontier of Existence in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Ionesco’s Rhinoceros