Essay on The Significance of the Exposition in a Play

Essay on The Significance of the Exposition in a Play

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There are instances in plays that when omitted disturbs the plot line. These instances may be small scenes, short actions, exchanges between characters, or an entire act. Failure to include these scenes often leads to many faults in the play, the worst of which is incoherence in the plot and the destruction of the progress through it. Certain plays have deeply interwoven scenes, which with the removal of one affect the rest greatly. This can be seen in William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. In particular the first act of the play reveals its course. Without this first act and its components, the play would begin in confusion. It might be redundant to say that one cannot do without the first act of all plays, but this play in particular is inseparable with it. The first act shows character interactions with the setting, reveals the motives of various characters, and foreshadows future events.
The significance of this entire act lies in the fact that it introduces the setting, various back-stories, and the theme of the play. The first scene introduces a setting that isolates the main setting from civilization through the use of the sea while the second scene uses a deserted island as the primary setting. The terrains in both cases seem to be harsh and unforgiving. The first scene depicts a vengeful ocean while the second shows a maze-like island. Each case, however, emphasizes the theme of the play. This theme involves the usurpation of the main character, Prospero, and the application of justice which results in his return to power. With this perspective, the destruction of the ship in the scene is reasoned as just. The second scene in the act introduces this theme through the use of Prospero’s story to Miranda. The removal of th...


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...est. It is almost as if the tempest is the base of a building and when it is removed the building collapses.
In conclusion, the significance of this one act can be compared to that of the very heart of the play. This act reveals the motives of the characters, introduces various back-stories, establishes a major theme, and advances the plot. One can argue that the entire act is too big to be called a scene, but the events are tightly interlinked together that it is difficult to separate them. Furthermore, there are only two scenes in the first act of the play. Scenes may be small or big, they may be short conversations or long speeches, but in the end all scenes play a role, however big it may be, in the progress of the play. Certain scenes in the play are just too significant to be omitted and this act or more specifically the scene of the tempest is one of them.

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