Analysis of William Shakespeare’s, The Tempest
William Shakespeare’s, The Tempest takes place on an island located in Italy and is among the established European settlements at the time.
The plot mostly focuses upon the character Prospero, who witnesses a massive storm, and in turn, his enemies arrive at the island. Prospero is aware of the danger ahead as he recognizes the king of Naples and his subjects. He feels that he might lose his position as ruler of the entire island. He finds a way in order to control the land, so that his beloved daughter Miranda can inherit it. Prospero is the main protagonist due to the activities he engages in to get rid of his enemies from the island. Fortunately, he is able to acquire minions (Arial and Caliban) to bid on his behalf through the use of magic, spells and deceit (Cartmell, Deborah, p 213).
On the other side, of the island, is the king of Naples, who travels to the island accompanied with his son, brother and servants. King Alonso, the antagonist threatens Prospero’s position as ruler at the time. Alonzo’s brother Sebastian proves to be extremely aggressive, as he plans to take his life so that he can gain control of the kingdom. When the party arrives, they settle in a different part of the island. This means that the king and his son the heir, known as Ferdinand are separated.
Ferdinand is able to survive the harsh environment and later, becomes Prospero’s property. This is not surprising as Prospero is used to dictating everything around him to his advantage. Prospero loves Ferdinand like a son and makes sure that he falls in love with his daughter Miranda. The two get married, and this is an advantage to Prospero. Prospero is keen on protecting what belongs to him, and this is due to his brother Antonio. The latter tried to remove him from power as the duke of Milan twelve years back (Potter, p. 261).
The conflict is as a result the actions of Prospero’s brother who attempts to banish him from the island. Alonso’s plans are not quite successful. He becomes disappointed when Prospero manages to trick him and gain control of the new island through lord Gonzalo’s help.
It is vital to hope for the best as there might be a time when one will face situations that are unexpected.
In the year 1564, in the month of April 23rd, William Shakespeare is recognized for his notable contribution to the works of literature during his time. His writing style makes his play different from the rest due to his excellent use of poetry, drama, and tragedy. These qualities were seen in all his plays, thus making them vital aspects of a successful Shakespeare play. Shakespeare’s plays depicted his life and is quite fascinating. Tempest shows his exit from the world of literature, which is seen in Prospero’s last speech against his critics. This exit strategy shows his thoughts about his work, fans and critics, also, the world of literature.
The Tempest is the last book Shakespeare wrote before his retirement. Shakespeare is inspired by the cultures and events that occur around him. His chose to focus on Italy as Britain ventured into other parts of the world in order to explore. His books are about nature as they view life in different countries by following various rules concerning life (Krueger, p. 314).
The tempest is based on Prospero’s need to survive the uncomfortable environment that has been created by his enemies. Antonio, his younger brother and who is the main antagonist envies Prospero’s title of the Rightful heir and Duke of Milan. He manages to ensure that Prospero and his daughter Miranda are sent to the new island. Here, they meet the local natives such as, Ariel and Caliban the child of the evil Sycorax. Ariel is under the spell of Sycorax who is referred to as Satan. Ariel exists in spirit form and spends most of his time bidding for Prospero’s. Despite the works of Antonio who is evil, Prospero obtains help from a friend and ally known as Gonzalo. He provides refuge for Prospero and his daughter Miranda, who spends most of her childhood in the island. Sebastian and Antonio plot to kill Alonzo. This plot is similar to the one that was unsuccessful twelve years ago. During that time, he cast Prospero away to the island in order for him to perish. Alonzo survives this attempt and becomes motivated to search for his son (Ingham, p. 178).
When the king’s party arrives, the play dynamics changes due to the direction he intends to pursue. This is stopped when his brother becomes rebellious. Since Prospero has some control of the island, he arranges for a masque party for Ferdinand and Miranda. This marks the beginning of a new life that secures the future of the two as the new leaders of the two islands. Apart from the wedding celebrations, the masque is meant to make sure that the entire community is aware about the future.
Prospero uses the masque to air his grievances against the people who spent their lives planning his demise. The wedding shows Prospero’s success against his enemies and the outcome of his manipulative ways. During the betrothal, Prospero is crowned as the rightful Duke of Milan in front of the king and his party. Antonio, Alonzo and Sebastian, are confronted during the imaginary banquet, and they look for refuge in some other place (Graf, p. 145).
Alonzo meets his son for the first time after they had been separated. He becomes apologetic due to his evil deeds against Prospero, in the beginning of the play. Alonzo and Prospero realize that they are in the same situation and have a similar life due to their circumstance. Prospero forgives his brother a traitor, who is not remorseful due to. Stefano, Tranculo and Caliban, are punished for plotting Prospero’s death, later on, they are accused and confronted.
“We are such stuff that dream are made on” (Act IV scene 1)
The book displays a significant amount of imagery through the use of magic. This is seen when Sycorax places a spell on Ariel the servant of Prospero in order to be imprisoned. Prospero also makes use of spells when he creates an imaginary banquet during the final scene. He also uses Arial the spirit to spy on his enemies during many instances. The characters, in the book, exist in both human and subhuman form. This shows Shakespeare’s love for drama and entertainment.
“Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows” (Act 11 scene 2)
A majority of Shakespeare plays exhibit tragedy as witnessed by the antagonist. This is enhanced by their envy and need for revenge, so that they can inflict pain on their victims. Also, the antagonist in the play is Antonio, Sebastian, Caliban and Alonzo. All these characters have their grievances and plot against each other in order to outdo each other. This leads to an uncomfortable environment that is miserable due to the intense suffering that is associated with the trade. Prospero uses his experiences to ensure that he does not fall victim to his predators. This makes him a character that is constantly scheming, in order to control most of the events in the play.
The use of the third person narrative makes the writer be distant from the play. This is the preferred form of writing as it gives the characters their own unique personality. It also makes their point of view credible, because it reduces the personal experiences the writer has with the character.
The last scene is about the resolution of the conflict in the beginning of the play. Prospero confronts all the characters in the masque as a result of their actions against him. He then reinstates the rightful heirs back to the throne in order to appease the new community in terms of providing efficient leadership (Krueger, p. 215).
In conclusion, The Tempest is Shakespeare’s way of leaving the genre of the entertainment industry. He does this with style as witnessed during Prospero’s last speech to his audience. Furthermore, it proves that people will at times face challenges, and in order to overcome them, they need to be always hopeful and positive. The audience at the play’s end is symbolic to his readers and fans. Writers have analyzed Prospero’s last speech, which shows Shakespeare’s real thoughts about his life as a novelist. Indeed, people should aim at having a character that is similar to that of Prospero, as witnessed at the end of Tempest. This is because no one knows the future and its outcomes.
Cartmell, Deborah . “Interpreting Shakespeare on screen” Journal on Shakespeare plays 2(3)72-77. Palgrave MacMillan. 2000.
Graf, Sandra. Is He a Monster? – Caliban in William Shakespeare’s ‘the Tempest’. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2009.
Ingham, Muriel B. “The Tempest.” Masterplots, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-3. Literary Reference Center. Web. 22 Jan. 2012.
Krueger, Susan H. The Tempest. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2010. Print.
Potter, Lois. Temptest: Journal of Shakespeare in performance. 4(9)12-14.2002