The Tempest Essay Research Paper The Tempest 2 — страница 6

  • Просмотров 386
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 22
    Кб

magic) were probably not only what suggested the idea of using magic as a them to Shakespeare, but in addition, provided methods as to how the magic in the play might be accomplished. Despite the fact that in retrospective analysis it is fairly clear that witches were nothing more that magicians with a slightly different presentation, audiences were not always aware of –and those that were, were rarely convinced by—the two aforementioned texts. Witches were still persecuted and witch-hunts did not actually stop until the end of the seventeenth century. Therefore, Shakespeare’s use of magic was controversial, compounded by the fact that Prospero was presented in a largely good light—a move probably made as a political statement, as it is known that Shakespeare’s plays

were sometimes written to include political suggestions to King James. However, when Prospero relinquished his powers at the end of the play, those that did believe in the witch-hunts were satisfied. Everyone was happy. After considering the contention that the masque scene was added for the purposes of compliment to Elizabeth and Frederick’s marriage, one could conclude that Shakespeare learned more about magic after he wrote The Tempest. The reasoning follows. One could only assume that Shakespeare would have tried to make the magic in the play as fooling and magical as possible. Although there were two magic effects in the play, one of them –the spirit music—would not have fooled even the most unsophisticated and na?ve audiences. Even before the era of Harry Houdini, or

even the wandering street magicians of the 1700’s, audiences were not fooled by music being played offstage. It is the other effect, that of the banquet disappearance that, well executed, would have fooled Shakespeare’s audiences, and would even have a shot of passing muster today. However, this banquet sequence was in the masque scene, theoretically added two years after the original writing of the play. The question that begs to be answered therefore, is why didn’t Shakespeare fund some other way of including a more sophisticated magic effect into the play? The most logical answer would be that he learned more about magic and witch techniques after he wrote the play. Maybe at first he was unable to grasp the explanations in the Scot text, or maybe he didn’t even read it

before the original writing—possibly it was just called to his attention, and he was unable to lay his hands on a copy until after he wrote the play Whether or not Shakespeare ever read the Scot text in its entirety, or whether or not the banquet disappearance was added before or after the original writing, neither is relevant to magic’s central importance to the play. Obviously, magic could grab audiences of Shakespeare’s time. As it happens, magic had been grabbing audiences since 2500 BC (according to a depiction of a magician on the Beni Hassan tomb in Egypt) and magic continues to grab audiences today. It caught Shakespeare’s eye, and has made the play timeless, and theatrically entertaining.