Literary Analysis of “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare
- Date:Jun 16, 2019
- Category:The Tempest
“The Tempest” by William Shakespeare is a refined work which may well be attributed, after thorough analytical study, to the nature of Shakespeare as a poet and playwright. Having become one of the most powerful figures in literature, Shakespeare is believed to have been represented by Prospero, the main protagonist in the play whose power is chiefly derived from the magical spells brought by his words. The role of magic is central in the life of Prospero and his subjects for his virtuous sorcery through the might of words have been able to command not only his daughter Miranda, but even the will of the monster Caliban and Ariel which happens to be an elemental spirit.
Just as W. Shakespeare is immensely known for the power of language in the literary world, so is Prospero who gradually learns wizardry in which words highly constitute the art of his magic at the period of his exile in a small island. Apparently, the words are perceived with utmost potential in the story as a tool to mesmerize the rational characters to forceless submission and this is the aspect where a significant parallel is drawn between the leading character and the famous playwright who at the time bears the genius capacity to shift emotions or move thoughts to a complete sense of appreciation and enlightenment similar to the effect of a spellbinding magic.
Though audience does not observe the explicit demonstration of magic one would normally expect from typical magicians, Prospero employs a casual approach with his craft. As such, in Act 1-Scene 1, he delivers the intention to threaten Caliban by merely stating “Tonight, thou shall have cramps”. At a scene with his daughter, he tells Miranda “Thou art inclined to sleep” after which Miranda’s suitor, Ferdinand, is brought to paralysis with the same mode of incantation. In the similar manner, Prospero is able to disarm Ferdinand with no additional effort or gesture but on simply making utterances to inform the man “I can here disarm thee with this stick / And make thy weapon drop.”
Ariel, being lower to the order on which Prospero belongs, can render the same technique himself without any visible concoctions that traditional wizards or witches do when, in Act 2-Scene 1 for instance, he casts his charms upon the counselor, making Gonzalo rise in response to song of mystification that chants “If of life you keep a care / Shake off slumber and beware / Awake!”. The spirit’s power with words further materializes on the situation Ariel proves that physical weapons drawn by Gonzalo and Alonso make no match to the uttered “Your swords are now too massy for your strengths / And will not be uplifted.”
In the progress of “The Tempest”, while the audience gains the idea of powerful verbal tactic with the art of language as the principal constituent of magic, Shakespeare proceeds to allow the viewers to learn and acknowledge the fact that Prospero would not have managed his beautiful way with words if not through the wisdom found in books. Essentially, thus, “The Tempest” alludes at this point the ample significance of reading books from which real strengths originate from small to their ultimate capacity and this is evidently reflected in Prospero’s statement “I’ll to my book / For yet ere supper-time must I perform / Much matter appertaining” prior to the act of drowning the texts. Caliban agrees with “Remember / First to possess his books; for without them / He’s but a sot, as I am, nor hath not / One spirit to command.” Consequently, this serves an indispensable morale to Shakespeare’s followers that literature, despite all astonishing wonders of words, would not generate its intended impact upon the mind, heart, and soul in the absence of thoughtful reading.