tempmagic Magic in Shakespeare's The Tempest

tempmagic Magic in Shakespeare's The Tempest

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Magic in Shakespeare’s Tempest


        The magic in The Tempest was able to create many abnormal happenings as

well as different feelings that are shown through the characters of Milan.

There were two different types of magic that were shown one was represented by

witches and wizards, this type of magic was not the beneficial type of magic.

The beneficial type of magic was created by studies that were done in secret and

used to discover new forces, and to study the greater effects of physics.  All

this magic that took place results in many of the illusions that were created on

the island.


        There are many illusions that seem to happen quite frequently, while the

shipwrecked persons of Milan were on the island that was created by Prospero's

powers.  Many of these encounters may not even be illusions but figments of

their imagination as well as hallucinations.  While others tend to happen

because of the magic that Prospero creates with his mind.  The spirits of the

air are the highest type these include Ariel, Ceres, Iris, Juno, as well as the

nymphs.  Each part of the magic symbolizes a certain part of the island.  The

spirits of the air I have already mentioned another type would be the spirits of

the earth.  These would include the goblins, the dogs and hounds that were used

to disease Caliban and his associates.  (: "Our natures do pursue, Like rats

that ravin down their proper bane, A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.

[Act 1, sc. 2])  Another form of the earth spirits would be the nymphs

(Prospero: "Go make yourself like a nymph o' th' sea.  Be subject  To no sight

but thine and mine, invisible to every eyeball else.  Go take this shape and

hither come in't.  Go!  Hence with diligence!  Exit[Ariel] .  Awake, dear heart,

awake!  Thou hast slept well.  Awake!{act 1, sc. 2}


        Out if Prosperos' anger he creates a vicious storm at sea causing the

ship to become shipwrecked on his very own island.  He uses this as an advantage

to make the island as a task for all the Millan characters to find themselves.

This would be their task as they are on the island.  Prospero uses some of his

most intriguing magic spells to manipulate his guests that will be staying on

the island.  The people are aware of the power that the island holds but they

are unaware that Prospero is in existence at this point.  Part of the

manipulation process that Prospero creates is gaining the trust amongst the many

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people that have become ship wrecked.  Prospero:  "Tis time I should inform thee

farther.  Lend thy hand. . . For thou must know farther."(act 1, sc. 2)  After

this they are like prisoners on his island and do anything for him.


        The island itself is illusory.  It is Prospero's and its warm tropical

climate alone would make someone think they were dreaming.


        Another main part of the illusions would be Ariel and its fairy friends.

Ariel was shown throughout the play.  It created music, and could fly freely

about the island.  Ariel could form all aspects of fire, air, earth, and water.

Fire was shown through lightning and in forms of flames.  Water spirits appear

in the Naiads and also the elves of the brooks and streams.  Its spirit in air

would be shown by how Ariel can glide through the air freely.  The characters

could not always see Ariel but most definitively heard it.  Ariel and the other

spirits were also able to transform themselves into different paraphernalia.  In

doing this they were able to watch the people and guide them in order to find

their inner spirits.


        As the spirits flew about they were able to control the fate on the

island.  The humans in this play had no authority as to the fate that occurred

on the island, and had to rely on the spirits.


        As for Caliban, he had a different form, but he still was the mercy of

the spirits.  Caliban's destination was directed by the nymphs and other

creatures.  Prospero: "For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps, side-

stiches that shall pen thy breath up.  Urchins shall, for that vast night that

they may work, all exercise on thee; thou shalt be pinched as thick as honeycomb,

each pinch more stinging than bees that made' em." (act 1, sc. 2)[Prospero

talking to Caliban]


        Caliban was also related to the many illusions that were created on the

island.  Many of the people that were in the shipwreck had never seen a creature

that was quite as ugly as Caliban.  Many of them thought that there could be no

such thing as a beast as ugly as Caliban.  In fact Caliban was a gentle creature

with human feelings.


        Shakespeare greatly emphasized on how freely the spirits could fly

through and about the island, making it haunted.  The spirits symbolized our

fate in life and how we have no idea were the path is going to take us, and what

road we will travel down.  You can't fight reality or fate away, just like the

characters in The Tempest couldn't fight away the spirits.  In some cases the

spirits and illusions helped the people but in other situations the matters at

hand became worse.  You have to believe in fate and freedom for any of it to

come true, you must believe in the spirits in order for them to do anything for

you.  It may not even be a force of nature that creates these illusions it is in

fact you yourself that has to make them come alive, you must believe in them.

It is important for people to believe in some thing's that are unbelievable to

others, and vice versa.  They must do this because it in turn helps them to

believe in themselves.
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