The Tempest Essay Research Paper From Storms

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The Tempest Essay, Research Paper From Storms to The Tempest William Shakespeare is undoubtedly the most celebrated playwright in history, but he is also the most severely criticized. Perhaps the play that has received the most criticism is his final, The Tempest. The Tempest has been disparaged for its lack of plot and tension, unparalleled amount of magic, myth and folklore contained within, and the lack of character strength. Many claim that Shakespeare?s last attempt at the theater was futile, resulting in a mind-numbing play about nothing. Perhaps it appears this way at first glimpse, much as the storm in the play appears to be Mother Nature acting up; but just as the tempest is more than a windstorm, The Tempest is more than meets the eye. It is instead an allegorical

tale of life in the theater, a conclusive farewell as Shakespeare bids adieu to his career as a playwright. The Tempest is brimming with allusion to the theater and the art of acting. The reader must simply be aware of the implication behind the words in order to catch these allusions. Perchance the most conspicuous reference to theater can be found in Prospero?s epilogue when he says ?But release me from my bands; with the help of your good hands.? Prospero?s remarks can be traced back to traditional renaissance theater, where the finale of the play was denoted by an epilogue of the main character asking for applause (??With the help of your good hands.?). Rather than closing his concluding play with Prospero?s journey back to Naples to resume his dukedom, Shakespeare instead

draws it to a close with his central character, the wizard Prospero, thanking the audience and inviting applause. One might find this a peculiar way to close a play that is hypothetically about nothing. Another curiosity is the connection between the length of the story and the duration of the play. While Shakespeare is renowned for his complex storylines that bridge over years of history, The Tempest covers a mere three hours, the duration of the actual performance of the play. The fascinating fact surrounding the play is that very little history of the characters is mentioned. The reader is informed that Prospero was once Duke, but abandoned his duties and was consequently banished to his island trap. Very little information before the plays commencement is given. Perhaps this

is all part of the motive behind the writing of Shakespeare. Throughout the play there are constant references to time: the time in which Prospero has to seek his revenge, the time limit that Ferdinand has to court Miranda and prove worth to Prospero, the time that Caliban has to seek a new master and freedom. Shakespeare wants to demonstrate that all the magic seen by an audience takes place in a short span of time; of course, there are years of work put into the play before opening night, but the audience will never know of that effort, they will merely enjoy the three hours that they experience. When considering The Tempest to be an allegorical look at theatre life, one must look outside the words and discover the true meaning behind characters, thoughts and places.

Conceivably the first concept that comes to mind when considering theatre is the stage; after all, that is where all of the action transpires. What in the play functions as the stage? Prospero?s magic island is the ideal illustration of a Shakespearian stage, a place where stories are told, conflicts are brought to an end, and magical things happen. The island, which Prospero inhabits throughout the play, is one of magic, precisely as a stage is a place of magic. In a conventional theatre, the playwright controls his stage, it becomes what he tells it to become. Largely this is the occurrence with Prospero and his island. Prospero has complete control over the island paradise (which remarkably is never shown to be a joyful place) and all whom inhabit it. The island grows to be