The Tempest, Critical Review

The Tempest, Critical Review

Length: 790 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Prospero's Plottings

After years of writing plays of history, tragedy, grand comedy and dramatic romance, William Shakespeare emerged from his darker writing of the past into the lighter, more peaceful style of his play “The Tempest.” This was Shakespeare’s last complete play, and, just as he bid farewell to the art he had so mastered, his principal character Prospero departs from his artful magic on the island he omnisciently controls. While Prospero’s early actions against his foes echo the ideas of a vengeful god, he strives to educate more than to correct. He portions out the justice he carries out with mercy, even when his enemies are delivered directly into his divine power, and, by doing so, proves to be the master of himself, embodying the qualities expected of a good ruler.
     Prospero’s omnipresence during the play is one the more obvious physical signs that he is in control of all his surroundings. The right Duke of Milan, he was exiled with his daughter, Miranda, to a remote island twelve years prior to the play’s beginning by his usurping brother Antonio, only surviving with the help of the good-hearted advisor Gonzalo. With the help of his spirit servant Ariel, Prospero stirs up a storm to beach a passing ship containing Alonso, king of Naples, who aided Antonio’s usurpation, his brother Sebastian and son Ferdinand, and Antonio himself, so he may confront them. Ferdinand is separated from the rest, is thought to be drowned, and courts Miranda, is put to the test by Prospero, and ultimately marries her. Ironically, Antonio coaxes Sebastian to plot to depose Alonso while they are being punished on the island because of usurpation. Prospero’s deformed slave Caliban encounters two lower members of Alsonso’s court, Trinculo the jester and Stephano the drunken butler and the three foolishly plot to win control of the island, under the unblinking eye of Prospero, who punishes them through Ariel’s trickery. In the end, all are brought before Prospero who forgives all, but reclaims his Dukedom, and releases Ariel and Caliban from his control. He renounces his magical powers and returns to Italy having learned the virtues of self-mastery from his exile.
     Prospero’s character is portrayed as entirely good throughout the play, using his magic only to achieve positive ends such as education. He is one with his environment as he has developed superior intellectual powers, now realizing that he marked himself to be ousted by his distance from everyday affairs.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Tempest, Critical Review." 16 Jan 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Criticism on The Tempest Essay

- INTRODUCTION The Tempest is generally it is a romance and frequently interpreted as Shakespeare dramatic art. It counted one of Shakespeare's most original plays. critical argument on ‘The Tempest’ has centered for centuries. It is he who embodies the debate over colonialism, over the clash of cultures, and over the humanity of the play’s heroes: Prospero, Miranda, Ferdinand and others. No source for the central plot has been definitively identified. The Tempest is set in an unidentified age on an unnamed island, which some critics have suggested evokes themes of European colonialism in the New World....   [tags: Shakespeare, Literary Analysis]

Research Papers
1310 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about Critical Review of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

- Daniel Defoe tells tale of a marooned individual in order to criticize society. By using the Island location, similar to that of Shakespeare's The Tempest, Defoe is able to show his audience exactly what is necessary for the development of a utopian society. In The Tempest, the small society of Prospero's island addresses the aspects of morality, the supernatural and politics in the larger British society. In Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, the island's natural surroundings highlights the subject of man's individual growth, both spiritually and physically....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe Essays]

Free Essays
1442 words (4.1 pages)

A Critical Review of Pride and Prejudice Essay

- A Critical Review of Pride and Prejudice Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, shows two characters overcoming their pride and prejudices while falling in love. In the beginning Elizabeth believes that Mr. Darcy is too proud and rude, but in time to come they start to admire and love each other. They bond together through their pride and prejudice, and in the end, they overcome the obstacles that held them back. Jane Austen was born December 16, 1775 in Steventon, England to George and Cassandra Austen....   [tags: Literature Review]

Research Papers
945 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on A Critical Review of Animal Farm

- A Critical Review of Animal Farm Once again, George Orwell shows his literary genius in writing. Through a brilliantly designed plot, the evidence for the horrors of totalitarianism, communism, and revolution have been shown. Throughout history, these types of events have destroyed societies, and George Orwell uses his strength in satire to show this. In someways, he even pokes fun at the communist regimes around the world by symbolizing them as animals. Truly, this book is not only serious in its message and theme, but it also gives a very entertaining story at the same time....   [tags: Literature Review]

Research Papers
1646 words (4.7 pages)

The Utopian Solution in The Tempest Essay

-     The entrance of The Tempest into theatres between 1610 and 1611, signifies a possible correlation between Shakespeare's play and the colonization of the ideal New World. Before analyzing the courtly order and utopian theme in The Tempest, it is important to understand the politics and culture of the court in the early 17th century. The society that Shakespeare emerges from plays an important role in the themes portrayed in The Tempest, because it leads to the utopian solution to the political and class conflict....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Research Papers
2477 words (7.1 pages)

An Analysis of Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay

- An Analysis of Shakespeare's The Tempest There are many ways of interpreting Shakespeare's The Tempest. A Post-Colonialist critic, such as Stephen Greenblatt, will look at the influence of historical and political implications of colonialism on the text. Along these lines, a Reader Response critic, such as Paul Yachnin, will look specifically at Shakespeare's audience and their concerns at the time in which the play was written. Very different from these approaches, a Psychological critic, such as Bernard Paris, will completely ignore what was in the author's and audience's minds, and look at the psyche of the main character in the play....   [tags: Tempest Essays]

Research Papers
3495 words (10 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]

Research Papers
821 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Bravery in The Tempest

- The Theme of Bravery in The Tempest     Bravery performs a very important role in The Tempest.  Different than a motif, the theme of bravery actually takes form in Shakespeare's play and develops the play itself.  However, like a motif, bravery is used intermittently throughout the play in different form and context.  It captures different meanings and performs different capacities erratically.  A denotative definition from the 15th century, according to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (10 ed.), portrays brave as meaning, "[from Old Italian and Spanish, meaning courageous, wild; probably from Latin, meaning barbarous]."  The dictionary then defines brave as "a.  having courag...   [tags: Tempest essays]

Research Papers
830 words (2.4 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)

tempcolon Essay on European Colonization in The Tempest

- The Theme of European Colonization in The Tempest           The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries were distinguished times, in which new thoughts and great legends were being born and Europe was changing. People were seeing their world in a new, dazzling light. Humanity's greatest writers, scientists, and composers were beginning to share their gifts. However, underneath these artistic overtones were the political changes, too. There was a New World out there, and its potential was undefined and many countries overlooked its capabilities....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Research Papers
1972 words (5.6 pages)

Related Searches

At the beginning of the play viewed, he is perfected and works to perfect others. He occasionally rules with a heavy hand, as can be seen by his interactions with Ariel and Caliban, but never plans to carry out threats and acts in their best interests. His brother Antonio contrasts with him in that while the usurping Duke has excellent rational skills, these are only used to service his own unremorseful greed for power. He is even more culpable as he leads the weaker Sebastian to consider following his example while silencing the good counselor Gonzalo. Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano, on the other hand, operate on a much more physical, basic level in their plot against Prospero, lessening both imputableness and punishment. Ferdinand proves to be an upstanding young man as he courts and weds the guileless Miranda; the audience is led to think he will serve well when he is king of Naples. Even in the end, Antonio doesn’t appear remorseful as Prospero confronts him, whereas Alonso is ready to face Prospero and to apologize for helping Antonio claim Milan. While all are treated mercifully, Shakespeare rewards those who show themselves to use power wisely, uniting two royal houses of power, while scorning those who abuse it.
     Shakespeare gives unity to the play by having all events occur on one course, in one place, and in ‘real’ time, meaning there are no breaks in time unaccounted for. Through the character of Prospero, he reveals that human existence is but a dream, no more real than the airy spirits who carry out his bidding. By his use of contrasting characters he shows levels of reason, with Caliban and Alonso’s servants knowing only human needs and senses, the lords displaying solid reasoning, and Prospero showing a level of intellectual mastery so high that he is omnipotent. With these, Shakespeare criticizes both the abuse of one’s level of reasoning one’s power. After the lesson on the island is completed with all, Prospero restores the ship that was wrecked and all return to reailty. Prospero, like Shakespeare at the end of his career as a playwright, ends his time with what he has mastered, and with serenity, with the knowledge already collected over the course of the journey, continues on to a dawning future.
Return to