Tempest By Shakespeare Essay

The Tempest is an interesting play written by the famous, William Shakespeare.

It is his official and last accomplishment. This play is thought of as one of
Shakespeare’s “romance” plays. Shakespeare started to write toward the
end of his career about magic and fantasy set in far-off lands. These realms
that he created are written about in his plays. This particular play is famous
for his usage of magic, which is carried through by the Duke of Milan (a state
in Italy), who is also known as Prospero the magician. Prospero rules
Shakespeare’s creation of an island set far away from all realities and creates
ruckus for all that land on the island. Prospero who is on an island with his
daughter Miranda and some servants to assist with magic is stranded but he uses
his magical powers to his advantage. Prospero is on this remote island because
his brother Antonio usurped his position of Dukedom. His evil brother sent
Prospero and his baby daughter sailing into sea with a boat full of wholes.

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Antonio sent Prospero away in such an abused boat that he assumes that Prospero
had to died at sea, but this is not so. A kind-hearted man named Gonzalo changes
Prospero and his daughter’s fate and Prospero in return uses his magic on the
island to make it some what livable for them. The play starts out so happily but
then Prospero is offered a chance to use his magic and take revenge upon his
evil, brother Antonio who took his place in Milan, Italy as the duke to rule.

Antonio happens to set sail in waters that are close to Prospero’s island. His
servant, Ariel who is an airy spirit, which Prospero rescued from imprisonment
and now controls can fly, play magical music, misdirect people, turn invisible,
and create storms and fire, among other abilities. Also Ariel’s gender is
uncertain and probably indeterminate; it is referred to sometimes as
“he”, but also takes on female forms (for instance, the nymph of
I.ii.301 and the harpy of III.iii.53ff) and spends much time invisible. It is
probably simplest to think of Ariel as androgynous-that is, neither male nor
female) So Prospero and Ariel conjure up a huge storm (the tempest), and try and
steer the ship towards the island so that his daughter and himself can return
back to civilization. The ship wrecks near the island and Prospero uses his
magic to make sure that all the passengers manage to make it safely ashore. Many
interesting figures wash upon shore. These figures include, Antonio, Alonso, the
King of Naples, who conspired long ago to help Antonio get rid of Prospero; the
good old counselor, Gonzalo; Sebastian, Alonso’s own power-hungry younger
brother; and Ferdinand, Alonso’s son, the Prince of Naples. The characters
basically divide up into two groups, the protagonists and the antagonists.

Antonio is an antagonist. He is the evil brother of Prospero, from whom he
usurped the position of Duke of Milan twelve years ago. He also plots with
Sebastian to kill Alonso and Gonazalo. Alsonso, the King of Naples is one of the
figures belonging to the protagonist group. He was long ago involved in
Antonio’s plot to get rid of Prospero. He has a corruptible, power-hungry
younger brother named Sebastian. He is the father of Ferdinand and the heir to
the throne and he has a daughter named Claribel, who has just been married to a
king fare across the sea. Gonzalo also belongs to the protagonists. He is a
well-meaning, good-hearted elderly counselor of Alonso, who helped save Prospero
and Miranda’s life long ago, when Antonio and Alonso betrayed them. The next
character is Sebastian who is an antagonist and he is also the wicked brother of
Alonso, King of Naples. He is corrupt and power-hungry, and he plots with
Antonio to murder Alonso and Gonzalo. Ferdinand is part of the protagonist group
and is the Prince of Naples, and the son of Alonso. He falls in love with
Miranda the first time he sees her. When Ferdinand is washed onto the island
alone, Ferdinand and Miranda (the young, na?ve daughter of Prospero who has
grown up on the island and has seen no other human being than her father for as
long as she can remember.) meet and fall in love at first sight. This was
Prospero’s secret goal all along, although he pretends to dislike Ferdinand at
first. Meanwhile, Prospero lets the other noblemen-Alonso and Antonio,
accompanied by Sebastian, Gonzalo and others wander around the island for a
while, by the way of punishment. Alonso believes that his son Ferdinand has
drowned, and he is suffering greatly over this. Antonio and Sebastian, Prosper
and Alonso’s wicked brothers, plot together to murder Alonso in his sleep in
order to seize the crown of Naples, but Prospero sends his servant Ariel to
prevent this. Meanwhile, another of Prospero’s servants-Caliban, a creature
native to the island whom Prospero has made his slave-meets up with a couple of
drunken servants from the ship, a jester named Trinculo. He is also part of the
antagonists and is a clownish figure. He is Alonso’s jester, who washes up
alone. Also a good friend of Stephano and very fond of wine, he gets involved in
an incompetent “conspiracy” with Stephano and Caliban to kill Prospero
and take over the island. But of course because he drinks his plans are not as
efficient. Prospero at work with his magic again, casts an enchantment on Alonso,
Antonio, and Sebastian to make them immobile with madness, guilt and fear.

Meanwhile, Ferdinand and Miranda become engaged, and Prospero uses his magic to
give them a beautiful wedding pageant, with spirits taking the form of classical
deities. Finally, in the climatic concluding scene, all the characters are
brought together once more. Prospero forgives the villains, but reclaims his
dukedom from Antonio. Ferdinand and his father Alonso are reunited. Prospero and
Miranda plan to set sail back to Naples with the rest, where Miranda will marry
Ferdinand and become the future Queen of Naples. And Prosper, finally keeping
the promise, which he has been making for ages, sets Ariel free from its
servitude to him. Prospero is the main character of The Tempest, he is the most
powerful and he manipulates everything. From the start of the play he engineers
the tempest that brings the other characters to his island, and after that he
uses his magic to control where they go. He can send Ariel to make them fall
asleep, freeze them in place, or lead them to wherever he wants them to be. He
also seems to have guessed correctly what the psychological reaction of Alonso
and the rest would be to Ariel’s terrifying accusation while in harpy form, and
he seems to have known that Miranda and Ferdinand would fall in love. Caliban’s
rebellion took him by surprise, though. I also think that Prospero is like a
“stand-in” for Shakespeare, saying goodbye to his career in the
theater using Prospero’s magic as a way to refer to the magic of the stage.

There are passages in the play, which seem to make connections between
Prospero’s magic and the magic on the stage. Prospero’s power of illusion as
being a metaphor for the illusion of theater, and his magic and power over other
people may be linked to the power, which the playwright himself-Shakespeare-has
in creating worlds and characters. Prospero’s final scene in which he stands
alone and is powerless on the stage, is a moving farewell to a great playwright
who is about to lay aside his magic by writing into his play “now my charms
are all o’erthrown, and what strengths I have’s mine own.” Prospero admits,
“now I want, spirits to enforce, art to enchant” (1-2, 13-14). Even as
Prospero pleads for the audience’s forgiveness and release and pleas, which is
easy to interpret, as the usual formal pleas made in an epilogue that is
actually Shakespeare’s final words, but coming through Prospero. Shakespeare is
stopping his writing and saying goodbye through Prospero, when he lays his
magical arts forever down and says a final farewell to an audience whom loved
him. It is as if these final lines are the final ones that Shakespeare ever
wrote for the stage. Then Prospero’s renunciation of his magic, and his begging
the audience to, at long last, set him free, are very moving and complex. These
final words are a fitting end to a magical play and to an end of a great career
in the theater.


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