Imperialism In The Tempest

Analyzing the Tempest through the eyes of imperialism reveals an underlying, separate narrative that manifests a form of social apology from Shakespeare. When gazing through this lens, it becomes evident that many of the characters and locations are in fact symbols embodying key components of colonization. Take Prospero for example.

He portrays the role of a European invader who comes to rule a foreign, primitive land enshrined in an atmosphere of mysticism. He achieves this outcome through the exploitation of his relatively superior knowledge over the natives, the most notable of which is Caliban, and coerces them into doing his bidding.

Shakespeare, shortly before writing The Tempest, read a contemporary travel account depicting the 1609 Virginia Company’s new world exploration circa Bermuda. This source of information, which would have been readily available to Shakespeare, would be instrumental in shaping the plot of the play as well as providing an explanation as to why the topic of imperialism was being discussed in 1611. Colonization holds a general significance as there exists harmful, lasting social and geopolitical effects seen today, as well as promoting avarice and greed, cruelty, and engendering a cultural superiority view as demonstrated by the colonizers in The Tempest.

Shakespeare demonstrates the corrosive effects of imperialism by generating an atmosphere inscribed in avarice and greed. The chief example of this can be seen through the interactions between Antonio and Prospero. Antonio betrays Prospero with his taking control over the government. Prospero is shocked, stating My brother and thy uncle, call’d Antonio “ I pray thee, mark me “ that a brother should be so perfidious (1.2.4).

With the introduction of the element of colonization, greed becomes the driving force behind the motivations of many of the characters. Even a familial relationship is tarnished in the wake of greed. He thinks me now incapable; confederates –/So dry he was for sway “ wi’ the King of Naples/To give him annual tribute, do him homage(1.2.5). Without regard for the consequences of the other people of Milan, Antonio forces Milan to become subservient to Naples.

In this case, greed comes in the form of a power hungry man. As prospero laments regarding this situation, the reader is reminded of the irony involved in this series of events. He refers to the island as his. This attitude underlines a key issue with imperialism. Prospero enslaved and colonized a foreign land and its inhabitants. Despite doing the same thing to others, he subsequently decries the invasion of his newfound paradise by Antonio. This is further enhanced as the role a shipwreck plays into the introduction of the interlopers into his world.

It is inevitable that, through the process and enforcement of imperialism, some form of cruelty will present itself. A typical median for this to occur is through the enslavement of a group of people, and enslavement does produce itself in Prospero’s domain. Caliban is assaulted with pinches and cramps by the Grand Wizard to keep him under control, and he restrains with fetters the young prince Ferdinand’s neck and feet together (2.2.3-4). These actions demonstrate the unnatural relationship between captor and unwilling subservient. Magic is seen as unnatural or supernatural, and its use as a forceful restraint can be likened to that of shackles.

Further analyzing this, it can be stated that the shackles that hold a slave are both physical and imaginary as thoughts or beliefs. Shakespeare utilizes this double meaning to subliminally criticize beliefs and ways of thinking that promote enslavement. As seen throughout history, violence only begets violence. This is clearly illustrated in the Tempest. This unnatural relationship brews a growing, festering resentment towards Caliban’s overlord.

This eventually leads to the spawn of Sycorax calling upon nature to castigate his tormentor. He calls for “all the infections that the sun sucks up/From bogs, fens, flats on Prospero fall.” (2.2.1-2). Retaliation may be justified, but no such measure would be required absent the presence of a foreign entity in one’s native homeland. A clear example of what the novel says about colonization is depicted in Prospero’s direct threats towards Caliban.

To prephase, he refuses a command to retrieve sticks in order to build a fire. Prospero bluntly tells Caliban If thou neglect or dost unwillingly What I command, I’ll rack thee with old cramps,Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar That beasts shall tremble at thy din (1.2.17). Prospero willingness to utilize magic for cruel purposes reminds the reader of a slavemaster with a whip. His continual use of it further indicates both a lack of remorse and respect for Caligan. Shakespeare likens Prospero to a witch when he states that he will make Caliban suffer just like Ariel did at the hands of Sycorax.Thy groans / Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts / Of ever angry bears (1.2.16).
Racism and cultural superiority are both drivers and results of colonization. The main native of the island, Caliban, is characteristic of a great deal of typical thoughts held by European people in relation to the natives of the new world. Following these common held beliefs, Caligan represents a person without any moral restraint.

This is seen specifically in his lustful ways. He is a dangerous despoiler of virtuous white women such as Miranda. Another belief was that natives had an intimate relationship with alcohol. In the Tempest, its introduction to Caligan causes him to exclaim “Freedom, high-day” (2.1.186). This encounter led him to meet the characters of Stephano and Trinculo. Similarly to tribes who favored different colonizers based on defining aspects such as country or origin, Caliban becomes disenfranchised with Trinculo as a master and claims that he will only serve Stephano.Stephano chastises Trinculo for his maltreatment of Caliban, saying that “the poor monster’s my subject, and he shall not suffer indignity” (3.2.36-37).

All of this closely resembles some aspects of European colonialist stereotypes of the New World’s peoples and of their historical subjugation of Indians for their own good. Shakespeare’s attitude toward European colonization of the New World amounts to criticism of the non-harmful, but misguided the view Gonzalo has toward the state of nature in a primitive commonwealth. Gonzalo’s “ideal commonwealth” speech (Act II, scene i., ll.143-164), in detail, shows the depiction of the primitive society contained in the French philosopher Montaigne’s essay “On Cannibals” in which Shakespeare was certainly familiar.

In that piece, Montaigne described Native-American society as being without “traffic” (i.e., commerce), without “letters” (i.e., literacy and knowledge) and without “toil” (i.e., vocational work). But, when Gonzalo speaks in glowing terms of a society (without sovereignty) and, even more remarkable (without sweat or endeavor), Prospero’s brother, Antonio, asserts that under such conditions, the citizens would soon become idle (whores and knaves) (l.167). It is this belief that can be seen in Hakluyt’s Reasons Goyen 5.

For Colonization. In his first reason he states that one of the reasons to colonize is to spread the glory of God by planting of religion among those infidels (Hakluyt, 125). The word symbolizes a major belief that if you are not part of the European culture, or refuse to adopt it, you are inferior. This second part leads to Hakluyt’s nineteenth point.

He states If we find the country populous and desirous to expel us and injuriously to offend us, that seek but just and lawful traffic, then, by reason that we are lords of navigation and they not so, we are the better able to defend ourselves by reason of those great rivers and to annoy them in many places (Hakluyt, 125). There is a clear belief that the European travelers have the right to infringe on other nations land. Inversely, the European Nations would seldom, if ever allow natives to step foot onto their land.

In conclusion, Shakespeare issue a subtle, benign rebuke of imperialism in his last solo authored play, the Tempest. There is a general repentive tone that points out the misdeeds of many of the European colonizers. However, he does fully condemn these practices. This type of thinking, even from one of the most introspective and cognizant writers in recorded history, allowed for the continuation of such practices well into the future.

In general, the justification for colonization was held up by a culturally superior outlook of European civilization. Ultimately this mindset lead to the propagation of cruel and humanistic practices fueled by the desire for wealth and recognition. Despite colonization effectively ceasing at the end of World War 2, there are still many lingering effects today. Specifically this is represented by the African Continent, Israel, and the Indian subcontinent existing in continued states of disarray.

Discovery The Tempest

“Discovery is an aspect of revealing what is not known. In William Shakespeare’s play, “The Tempest” play introduces us to unfailing phases of events that were experienced in the play. The events that have happened over the generation is being realized by the new generation concerning what happened in the when sailing back to Italy. The entire family had attended a wedding at Tunis Africa. Claribel, daughter of Alonso, was married to the prince of Tunis. A strong storm and lightning hit the ship causing the ship to sink. Those who survived the boat capsize were kidnapped on an island with each person splitting in his or her direction. The family reunites again, but Ariel magically appears in spirit form. It introduces us to the original background to the discovery by the new generation. Miranda represents the new generation. Her father Prospero is explaining to her of what had happened in the sea about twelve years ago. He narrates to her daughter the encounter in the sea that led to the wrecking of the ship they were looking at while offshore. He explains to her how she used the magic books skills to escape from the boat. However, they arrived at the island safely where both survived over the decade. Miranda realizes the tragic accident they faced while sailing in the sea. The narrations she is told also helps her discover that her father was indeed the Duke of Milan ship which her uncle, Antonio had overthrown his father with his friend Alonso the king of Naples. It was on these grounds that enmity between his father and his brother developed after they even imprisoned him. When they met after twelve years, Prospero is still angry that he rethinks of revenge due to the bitterness of what they did to me. Ferdinand, Alonso’s son whom they thought had died to meet with Prospero and Miranda. Miranda has affection to Ferdinand as the third man he has ever met. Dad does not want an instance where the two, Miranda and Ferdinand will be close and thus the punishes him by assigning him to a hard job in the woods. Ferdinand finds its worthy as it will create a smooth channel to meet Miranda. His dad discovers that the two are in life and Miranda even proposes to Ferdinand for a hand in marriage, which he agrees. His dad capability to appear in spirit exposed them even when the two were experiencing the sweet moment when exchanging kind words, which Prospero liked. He welcomes Ferdinand as the husband to be to his daughter Miranda and arrange for a wedding meeting. The discovery context has also revealed at the last part of the play. After the big storm and the lightning that stroke the ship in the wreckage, the entire group of people was separated into several categories. They stayed isolated on the island for twelve years. They reunite after Miranda’s father used the force of nature, the Ariel spirit to search and re-combine the entire group as one. It is at this last part of the wedding that Alonso discovers that his presumed dead son, Ferdinand, had not indeed died but he miraculously survived. They two met, and all are happy again. The playwright, William Shakespeare in his play has indeed plotted it so so well. The incidence has unfolded consequentially to bring the flow of ideas and events in his entire game. This attribute has been attested by how the play, The Tempest has been ordered. Themes intended to be captured by the writer has come out so nicely. One event of activities helps to discover another activity. Personally, I recommend the play as it is one of the Shakespeare’s best games”.

How The Tempest Shows The Human Condition

The Tempest begins with a ship caught in a storm on its way to a wedding. It crashes on an island whose only inhabitants are Prospero, his daughter Miranda, his slave Caliban, and a number of spirits. Prospero actually orchestrated the storm through Ariel, a spirit who owes Prospero service because Prospero saved his life.

One of the ship’s passengers is Prospero’s brother Antonio, who usurped Prospero’s dukedom and had him banished to the remote island . By shipwrecking Antonio on the island, Prospero intends to get his dukedom back. Raw human nature as well as the things that influence the characters personalities are very visible as Shakespeare strips away all normal social structure.

The first example of this raw look at human personality in The Tempest is during the shipwreck. The nobles and sailors have a very well defined social hierarchy. This hierarchy is destroyed when the ship wrecks on Prospero’s island. When the storm begins the Boatswain says “What cares these roarers for the name of king?”. This statement indicates that class doesn’t matter in a dire situation, and is something that would not be acceptable to say to a noble under normal circumstances. But because the king and his nobles are putting their lives in the hands of the Boatswain, they have no choice but to accept it.

The second example is the way Prospero hides his intentions and is often not truthful. When Prospero causes the storm, he doesn’t tell his daughter why he needed to cause the storm. As a reader, I wondered why he did this. He also has never told his daughter of their past, as seen in this quote: “You’ve often started to tell me who I am, but then suddenly stopped, leaving me asking questions that never get answered, telling me, “Wait. Not yet.”’ This is interesting because it implies that her father is keeping the truth from her. What could Prospero have gone through in the past to feel it imperative to lie?

In summary, The Tempest shows the human condition (what makes and shapes a person) through getting rid of normal social structure and causing the reader to wonder about a character’s backstory and what causes their behavior and feelings.

How Loyalty and Betrayal Affect The Tempest

Lies and deception can make for the worst situations and only cause pain and agony for those involved, but it makes for a great story. For example in the book The Tempest, the whole plot can be thanked for the dishonesty and betrayal between the characters. Even in the subplot lying and betrayal seem to be the main theme.

The themes of betrayal and loyalty go back and forth in The Tempest, Antonio betrays his own brother Prospero and steals his role as king, Prospero lies to his slaves about their freedom, and loyalty saves the lives of two characters, and a country. The whole story is based on lies, with the underlying help of loyalty.

Prospero who is the king of Milan, steps down from his position of king, handing it over to his brother Antonio. While away from the throne, Prospero is studying magic, more specifically, black magic or witchcraft. This is what I believe to be the first betrayal, and it is Prospero betraying himself and in trusting someone else with such a big role, without this the whole story wouldn’t of happened. However it’s no surprise that his brother Antonio refuses to give back his role as king and exiles Prospero to a small island with his daughter. Later on the island that Prospero is banished to, he uses his black magic to enslave a man named Caliban whom is native to the island and rightful king, also the son of a deceased witch named Sycorax. Not only does Prospero have Caliban enslaved but another man named Aerial. Aerial is a spirit who was rescued by Prospero, formerly enslaved by Sycorax, whom Prospero originally learned black magic from. In a way Sycorax’s teachings betray him because his teachings captured his son Caliban for Prospero to enslave.

Not as obvious as the sneaking and betrayal is in this story is loyalty. It is always been wondered if Prospero was not doing a good job of being king when he stepped down and handed it to his brother, Antonio, this shows Antonio’s loyalty to his country of Milan and how he wants it to be ran correctly. Scott Schneider of the Shmoop editorial team states a very good question about the events, How much of this betrayal is Prospero’s own perspective and convenient forgetting that Antonio was doing all the hard work?(Schneider 2008). This question brings up a good point about perspective in the story, and asks another question, is Prospero being honest about his past, being unloyal to his country and betraying his duties? Loyalty is a farce in the play; everyone follows the courtly rule of swearing loyalty, but gives up on the notion as soon as it is no longer convenient(Schneider 2008). However, Prospero also showed loads of love and loyalty to his brother which almost contradicts him being a bad guy. Trusting his brother with one of the biggest jobs in the world and knowing that he would take care of it in his absence, shows more loyalty and trust than is received or given to anyone else for the rest of the story. Unfortunately for Prospero his brothers betrayal costed him years of his life.

With all the betrayal going on in the story mostly affecting Prospero, he does acknowledge some help that he has received in his survival and making it to the island, Both, both, my girl.

By foul play, as thou sayst, were we heaved thence, But blessedly holp hither (Shakespeare 6). As he said this he is shining light on to the situation and thanking Gonzalo,Prospero has the distance and perspective of wisdom when thinking about how they ended up on the island. Antonio’s treachery put them there, but the help of the natural elements, and Gonzalo’s loyalty, allowed them to survive and prosper(O’connor 2009). Throughout The Tempest I believe that the theme of loyalty is something that helps the story go one without all the attention that betrayal receives. Everyone is surprised when someone does something dishonest or lies to another character for personal gain. However no one is excited about a character doing the right thing in a situation. Which makes these times all more important, and it’s also really important that Prospero acknowledged Gonzalo for his loyalty because it really does not occur in this story often. We must also not forget that Alonso and Prospero both may of been killed if it wasn’t for their friends loyalty saving them before it was too late, Ariel and Gonzalo. This was a huge boost to the story as if they were killed it could of been alot worse for the people involved bring in more unnecessary drama.

Betrayal really pushes characters to do drastic things and also open their minds up to the truth about their actions and how others truly are, for example when Prospero sinks the boat containing the king and his party, Ferdinand states a very famous quote narrated by Ariel from the story; Hell is empty and all the devils are here (Shakespeare 11). This quote is a great example if Ferdinand coming to his senses about what has happened to Prospero. He believes that God is punishing them for being disloyal to Prospero and they are being banished to hell for their actions. That doesn’t happen however it does make the characters realise their actions and how they really affected someone. This even reveals Alonso to be apologetic and regret being disloyal to Prospero in the past, once again betrayal and loyalty working off of eachother.

In The Tempest, betrayal and loyalty go hand and hand, feeding more fuel to the fire that is this crazy plot. One last quote that I feel really sums up my idea on this book is Loyalty is a farce in the play; everyone follows the courtly rule of swearing loyalty, but gives up on the notion as soon as it is no longer convenient. (Schneider 2008). The themes of betrayal and loyalty go back and forth in The Tempest, Antonio betrays his own brother Prospero and steals his role as king, Prospero lies to his slaves about their freedom, and loyalty saves the lives of two characters, and a country. The Tempest is truly a great story with many themes however betrayal and loyalty are the two most important, because they assist each other in progressing the story.

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

The Tempest by William Shakespeare written in 1610, displays the meaning and value of power. How is power important in this play? Why does everyone need power? Well to begin the main character Prospero has a brother named Antonio who is after his former title as Duke of Milan. The play showcases the extent to which Sebastian, Alonso, and Antonio go to destroy Prospero.

All wanting to maintain the title and do whatever it takes to make sure Prospero never gains that power again. Based off an actual event of a shipwreck off Bermuda that was headed to Virginia, The Tempest tells that near a Mediterranean island a strong storm steers a ship that carries King Alonso of Naples his son Ferdinand and brother Sebastian. Returning home from Tunis back to Italy.

When the storm hit, their ship was destroyed in the process. Shipwrecked with them is the squire Gonzalo and the Duke of Milan, Antonio. On the island, Prospero and Miranda his fifteen-year-old daughter watched what was happening to the ship. Miranda was worried about the people on the ship but her dad tells her that there okay. He then proceeds to tell her about his past. How they ended up on this island twelve years ago, he started by saying how his brother Antonio forcefully removed him from his title. So Prospero escaped on a boat with little Miranda and his magic books. They traveled to an island and decided to call it home, they found a native his name was Caliban who later became their slave. Prospero knows that his brother is on that ship that is now destroyed, he hopes to finally get revenge. He planned for this to happen, with his magic as a way to get his enemies in one place at once to get what he wanted. As Miranda is sleeping Prospero plots with Ariel, who was trapped from a tree on the island by Sycorax ( a wicked witch and mother of Caliban) about his role in the shipwreck and the plan of what to do with the men ashore. They come to shore safely but the king is at a loss for hope when he realizes his son Ferdinand could have drowned during the tragic crash. Ferdinand was on the other side of the island safe. He and Miranda meet and have this instant love connection, her dad is worried for his daughter. He does not want her to fall in love with him so he puts Ferdinand into a cell. While this is all occurring Sebastian and Antonio create a plan to kill the king while he is asleep however Ariel ruins that for them. On another part of the island there is Trinculo who is known as a timid court fool, he finds Caliban who was hiding from spirits and they are both found by Stephano the butler. Now, these three men are very drunk and are still planning to kill Prospero so Stephano can be the lord of the island.

Ariel witnesses this take place as he is an invisible spirit and tells Prospero. Both have a plan and go forth, ready to trap the three men. Prospero’s first plan was to distract, and so he displayed some fancy clothes which Stephano and Trinculo fell for. Both attracted to gaudy items. When they touched the clothing they were both chased by Spirit’s in disguise as dogs. After that occurred Ariel brought all the courtiers to the cell. Instead of getting his revenge Prospero forgives each of them and states that he is the right Duke of Milan. His daughter and Ferdinand are engaged to be married in Naples just before the Prospero’s goes back to Milan. The ship is said to be safe, not completely damaged and they all head to Naples. Within this play power, control and forgiveness act out a big role. At the beginning Prospero’s wanted to get revenge for what his brother did, he wanted control of something he lost a while ago due to his brother. For power, Antonio and Sebastian wanted to kill Prospero’s to attain that power that they always wanted. And lastly, for forgiveness, it was easy for Prospero’s to forgive because he saw everyone struggle and pay for their transgressions. And so the plot of The Tempest is to kill. Sebastian, Alonso’s brother wants to kill him to take the crown and Trinculo, Stephano and Caliban want to kill Prospero so they can take over the island. In conclusion The Tempest written by William Shakespeare tells a story of forgiveness. That in any situation you can overcome it and in the end forgive. Prospero’s creating that storm and having them come to that island resulted in more of a positive thing than he anticipated. Instead of revenge his daughter was engaged and they all made peace. Although power was predominantly a strong trait displayed in the play, everyone seemed to have attained a little bit at the end of it leaving them all civil and equal.

Colonization in The Tempest

The Tempest is considered one of the greatest works of William Shakespeare; the play includes various themes and Shakespeare provides insightful social observation on the relations within Britain during the Elizabethan era. The Tempest clashes disputes such as hierarchy, power, individualism and colonialism, as well as challenging the viewpoints that there is only black and white and that an individual is either good or evil. The major theme in this play is colonialism.
For the period time of Shakespeare (1600’s) many European countries were expanding their borders by taking over less developed countries, referred to as the colonies of the Americas.

Though it started way before these years with the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in the 1490’s, the play is deliberated as a postcolonial play, though which we can find out mainly due to Caliban’s protest against Prospero and his opposition to colonial power using the language taught by the colonizer.

Observing at the plot of The Tempest, there is representation of the Europeans through Prospero’s actions, he arrives at Sycorax’s island, moderates it and enforces his own culture to its people. Sycorax’s island could be seen as a symbol of America, which suffered the same obligations that the island did. As Europeans did with Americans, Prospero takes away the power from Caliban and treats him as an evil, horrid, and deformed being, a disgraceful being, who in his eyes is not even a human. Prospero said, Thou Poisonous slave, got by the devil himself, upon the wicked dam, come forth (William Shakespeare).

In 1609 a fleet of ships set out from England, sailed towards the Virginia colony. One of the ships was parted during the forceful storm and ended up on Bermuda. These shipwrecked Europeans began colonizing the island and enslaving the Native population. Shakespeare’s, The Tempest is based on this incident (British Colonial America Migration Timeline 1607 to 1783 (National Institute)) Virginia was the first territory to be colonized in America, Sycorax’s island was a representation of Virginia. Prospero, Caliban, Ariel and Miranda characterized the colonizers and the colonized correspondingly. Prospero is an European who has taken charge of a remote island (he lost his dukeness of Milan), being able to do so because of his strong magic powers. With these powers, he sorts out a life for himself and gets local citizens (Ariel and Caliban) to work for him, and sustains his control by a combination of threats, spells and enchantments. He promises and assures them freedom someday. By taking responsibility of a place which is not his by applying his European power over the strange non-European creatures, Prospero can be seen as an evident symbol of post colonialism. Caliban, a Native of the island, regards himself as the rightful owner the place. Caliban states, This island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother, which thou takest from me. He is forced against his will to serve Prospero and Miranda. Prospero extends to Caliban his European hospitality, teaches him language and in return is to show all the natural resources of the island by Caliban.

The Tempest explores the complex and problematic relationship between the European colonizer and the Native colonized individuals through the relationship between Prospero and Caliban. Prospero views Caliban as a lesser being than himself. As such, Prospero considers that Caliban should be appreciative to him for educating Caliban and lifting him out of “savagery.” It simply does not occur to Prospero that he has taken rulership of the island from Caliban, because Prospero cannot imagine Caliban as being fit to rule anything. In difference, Caliban soon becomes conscious that Prospero views him as a second-class citizen fit only to serve and that by giving up his rulership of the island in return for his education, he has allowed himself to be robbed. As a result, Caliban turns bitter and violent, which only reinforces Prospero’s view of him as a “savage.” Shakespeare uses Prospero and Caliban’s relationship to show how the misunderstandings between the colonizer and the colonized lead to hatred and conflict, with each side thinking that the other is at fault.

In addition to the relationship between the colonizer and colonized, The Tempest also explores the fears and opportunities that colonization constructs. Introduction to new and different people leads to racism and intolerance, as seen when Sebastian criticizes Alonso for allowing his daughter to marry an African. Exploration and colonization led directly to slavery and the conquering of Native people. For instance, Stephano and Trinculo both consider seizing Caliban to sell as a curiosity back at home, while Stephano eventually commences to see himself as a probable king of the island. At the same time, the expanded territories established by colonization created new places in which to experiment with alternative societies. Shakespeare conveys this idea in Gonzalo’s musings about the perfect civilization he would establish if he could acquire a territory of his own.

Works Cited

  1. British Colonial America Migration Timeline 1607 to 1783 (National Institute). FamilySearch Blog, Family Search, 14 July 2014, 18:57,
  2. Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. T. Nelson & Sons, 1998.

The Tempest vs. Macbeth

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Macbeth, supernatural elements and magic are quite prevalent throughout the stories. From witches to spirits readers experience these other worlds that Shakespeare creates in his writing. The way magic is used and represented in these two plays is very different. Magic in Macbeth is used to show evil and darkness while the magic in The Tempest is far more natural and follows the laws of nature.

The very first people in Macbeth that speak are the three witches. They are seen chanting and seemingly predicting future events. The play is set up right away with this idea of the supernatural world. The witches put you right into a place of magic and wonder. The strategic use of the witches at the beginning tells you that magic will be a part of the play. The witches being used as foreshadowing agents allows the readers to get the supernatural essence that the characters bring. They end the first scene with the famous line Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air (1.1, 12-13). As the play progresses into the third scene, Macbeth states So foul and fair a day I have not seen (1.3, 137). By using the exact same words as the witches used in scene one, it clearly shows that the witches have these powers to see into the future. Banquo even refers to the witches as instruments of darkness and they are symbolized as evil beings (1.3, 236). Another way that magic and the supernatural is symbolized as evil in Macbeth is with the floating dagger. In the first scene of act two Macbeth is plotting the murder of Duncan in order to fulfill the witches prophecies. While this plotting is happening, Macbeth sees a dagger floating towards him. As Macbeth gets his first look at the dagger he says, Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight? Or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable as this which now I draw (2.1, 613-620). It is unclear if this is a hallucination or a ghostly omen, but this proves to the audience that the supernatural occurs whenever something evil is stirring. As the play continues into act three after the murder of Banquo we see his ghost appear during the banquet. Macbeth is the only one who can see Banquo’s ghost, so this begins to show Macbeth’s mental state in the play. I believe Banquo’s ghost is used to represent all the crimes that Macbeth has committed. Overall, the supernatural elements in Macbeth are used to depict evil and darkness.

In The Tempest the magic doesn’t feel as dark and sinister as it does in Macbeth. The story of The Tempest really revolves around magic and the plot wouldn’t exist without it. While the magic of this show really drives the plot, it is also used as a tool to mesmerize its audience. Several of the characters in this play have magical powers. Perhaps the most central magical character is Prospero. His magic is not evil, nor does it represent evil in the story. In act one Prospero says The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touched the very virtue of compassion in thee, I have with such provision in mine art so safely ordered that there is no soulNo, not so much perdition as an hair, Betid to any creature in the vessel (1.2.33-38). This proves that Prospero has been thoughtful in the fact that he is trying to make sure that everyone is safe. So, even though his magic may seem to be bad, his intentions are good and he wants to make sure that everyone is safe in the process. The magic of The Tempest is different because instead of representing something evil, Prospero’s true purpose is to use man’s natural born goodness to create change a potential path of evil and turn it into something good. His powers allow him to manipulate what happens in the story and gives him the power to affect people’s lives and relationships. After reading The Tempest, I considered Prospero’s magic more as a use of metaphorically being the playwright of the story. His powers allow to essentially control everything that is going to happen to the people around him, therefore seemingly being the puppet master to this entire story. This is different from Macbeth because the magic or supernatural elements don’t necessarily drive the plot of the story. They are just there to be symbolic elements.

Whereas The Tempest would not exist without magic. In the fourth act Prospero says Our revels now are ended. These our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits and are melted into air, into thin air; and like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and, like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep (4.1.165-175). This to me is very representative of theater and storytelling, thus proving that Prospero could be a metaphor for a playwright. Shakespeare was great at incorporating magic and the supernatural world into his stories. What is more amazing though is that he was able to incorporate it into multiple stories and making them completely different. Macbeth and The Tempest may have both included supernatural elements, but they couldn’t be more different stories. Macbeth was able to tell a darker story with it’s supernatural elements while The Tempest went in a completely different direction with its magic.

The Tempest A Travel Through Shakespearian Tragicomedy

William Shakespeare had cultivated the literary arts world through both his mystic playwrights as well through his sonnets, through his literary arts he had inspired many and had opened a realm of writing for many individuals, for instance, his creation of a tragicomedy a playwright with the concepts of both tragedy and comedy. This can be very relative in his final playwright wherein, The Tempest, Shakespeare illustrated a world which had primarily displayed characteristics of a tragedy, while also embedding aspects of a comedy to convey that manipulating those around you could lead to a mutually-benefiting, outcome.

Within The Tempest, Prospero had controlled the environment around him, and the others on the island, to create an emotional response of fear of him by all others that had shipwrecked on the island at his will. Immediately following the shipwreck because of the tempest the crew of the boat including the king abandoned ship and swam to the island, while this had an accord to, Prospero and Miranda where confronting Caliban. Where Caliban then decides he must obey his master because Prospero’s magic had been so powerful that it would make a vassal of [my god]. (1.2.448-450) The subject of Prospero’s magic had been compared to the powers of a god. The quote had been fitting because of the effect of Prospero’s magic and the powers of a god had created the characteristic that with his magic he can and will influence other subjects, and can create a life-altering fear in those who oppose him as seen through the conversation with Caliban. This had been significant because Prospero is not a god but was just a fool with a book, in reality, he had studied magic and had been very well mannered in the ways of magic, because of his understanding of magic he makes himself only to seem godlike to take control of others as seen between him and Caliban. In the case of tragedy vs. comedy, this example shows a strong case of tragedy because of Caliban’s emotional response containing a hateful bitterness for Prospero. The fact that Caliban is a slave for Prospero and more importantly, the fear that Prospero could do anything towards Caliban at any given time. After completing all of her tasks that Prospero had originally assigned for her, Ariel feels as though she has done more work for Prospero that should be required of her. Prospero feels differently as he tells her that if she speaks any more of the subject, he will rend an oak and peg thee in his knotty entrails for twelve years. (1.2.349-351) The exaggerated thought of incarcerating Ariel within an oak tree for twelves years serves to express the annoyance that Prospero had with Ariel focusing solely on her freedom. Through Prospero’s profound stature, the reader comes to a more in-depth understanding that Prospero’s magical powers go beyond what immediately meets the eye. If Prospero can control a wind nymph to live out twelve years of its life just because of his frustration with her, there had been a useful ability present which naturally shows an emotional fear reaction from Ariel. As the play concludes, Ariel does finish her pact with Prospero which had been the only reason for why she Prospero had not killed her. This further provides evidence that The Tempest had been primarily a tragedy while also incorporating comedic aspect because of Ariel demonstrating her self-concern over her and Prospero’s original deal that they had made with each other. In total, she still that there is faith within Prospero to do the right thing; she still hopes that he will even release her from his servitude.

Prospero’s control over the crew of the ship including the king and all others on board disperses them all around the island further leads into the nature of the play representing a tragedy more so than a comedy. For instance, because of the play representing a tragedy over a comedy it can be seen through the drunk crewmates, Stephano and Trinculo, had found each other on the island and at the same time discovered the witch-devil, Caliban, where he then swears his loyalty to them for their alcohol in which Trinculo says that he finds this puppy-headed monster. A most scurvy monster to be quite entertaining. (2.2.160-161) The parallel structure shows the reader the comedic nature of Caliban’s drunken request to serve Stephano and Trinculo, while also exhibiting the more important tragic struggle, dealing with social factor norms. This had been significant because Caliban did not have any freedom from anyone because he was a Prospero’s slave mainly because Prospero had the power of magic to fight against Caliban. Another significant reason had been that Caliban was an unloved witch-demon who had been a native to the island and had allowed to be stolen by Prospero when he escaped to the island. And another signifigance of the quote had been that Caliban had decided to serve with Stephano and Trinculo only because of the promises Caliban the opportunity to kill Prospero, for the sake of getting revenge on stealing his island. Although this event showed numerous scenes of comedy, it still was not as severe as the tragedy at the beginning of the play, when Prospero initiates the tempest that had destroyed the ship in the play; but still, it seemed that there had a higher influence of tragedy over comedy in the play. Although there had been many strong influences of tragedy within in the Tempest, influences of comedy had been intertwined into the events occurring as the play had progressed. Immediately after Alonso discovers that his son was not with him, he concludes that his son had not survived the tempest that was believed to tear apart the ship and that his son has been killed off by the storm because of drowning in the water. Alonso’s brother then notes how they all were giving the king comfort like cold porridge considering that Alonso had been mourning the loss of his son. (2.1.3) Shakespeare uses situational irony when depicting the scene to which Alonso realizes his son is not on the beach. In the resolution, Ferdinand must have died out in the sea after the ship had torn apart, but in reality, Ferdinand had been alive and trying to marry Miranda after viewing how beautiful she had been; all of which was a part of Prospero’s plan. Through this scene and the device of irony, the author shows the comedic nature by using diction and quotes through the play while also showcasing the tragic characteristics of human suffering, emotional responses from individuals, and the painful struggle, all influencing the appearance of comedy throughout the play. The irony concludes that the all of this had been a part of Prospero’s control of everybody that had been on the island. When the play is slowly coming to an end, Alonso meets back up with Ferdinand, who had gotten married to Miranda, therefore creating a reconstruction of a treaty between Prospero-Alonso as well leading to a mutually-beneficial relationship between each other in the result of the play.

In Conclusion, The Tempest, although containing a variety of examples in which the concept of Comedic influences is laced throughout the play to create a more in-depth analytical view, with more aspects of a tragedy. Through the given examples, it was clear that Shakespeare had been trying to show that the controlling factor of those around you could lead to a mutually-benefiting, outcome.

The Tempest of a Crumbling Empire Destruction

During the 18th century, empires and its ruins were known for being displayed through mediums of arts such as paintings, which contributed to our understanding and interpretation of the stages of an empire, at its high and its low. A recurring and popular depiction of ruins often seen in such historical art shows an empire at the brink of its collapse. Thomas Cole illustrated his own version of such through his painting Destruction, a prime example of how chaos due to nature and the immoral actions of mankind lead to an empire’s fall.

In Cole’s series of paintings known as The Course of Empire, Cole introduced a cyclical perspective of history in which a civilization appears, matures, and collapses. In particular, Destruction embodies the fourth stage of what Cole interprets to be representative of an empire: the demolition of a once magnificent civilization caused by the brutal bloodshed between battling armies and the erratic forces of nature, which include ominous clouds, a storm-cursed sea, and violent flames. At first blush, the most obvious detail is, of course, the destruction of the city, amidst the brewing tempest striking out in the distance. It appears that a convoy of soldiers has taken control of the city’s defenses, and has sailed to the port of the city, as their ships, though in the process of sinking, make an appearance in the illustration. The depiction of these sinking ships could very well be ships that sailed to the city as a vehicle of transportation for trade at the time, as empires thrived off of commerce at the time. The nature in which these ships are shown suggest that these ships that once fostered prosperous trade and exploration now perish and sink in the turmoil of war.

Adjacent to the ships stands a woman who appears to be running away from a soldier who is grasping her clothes in what seems to be an attempt to capture her. Depending on one’s interpretation, it may look as if she is committing suicide or being pushed over the edge by her pursuer and into the ocean. This serves as an indication of the collapse of civilization into sexual abuse, which further supports the notion that immoral acts lead to chaos. It is notable to observe that amidst the faceless and unknown swarms of warriors blanketed by a smoky, dark-filled sky, this woman in white is strikingly different from the others, and stands out as an individual.

One of the most outstanding details of the painting is the irate statue on the right, armed with a massive iron shield. This faceless, headless statue appears to be trekking into battle as the precursor of the war occurring below it, but also ironically striding towards a murky future, as observable through the scenes of the image. If one were to observe the painting in greater depth, though, we can see that there are peasants at the foot of the structure that seem to be almost begging with this statue. They are crouched on their knees and looking towards the statue as if it would protect them from the sinister destruction occurring around them, so long as they worship the object. It is quite ironic that the said people would plead to the statue for a sense of security, as their fate is sealed by the multitude of disasters, including nature itself, happening before their eyes.

Just like how no individual is capable of escaping the cycle of life, Destruction implies that there ceases to exist a civilization that escapes the judgment and facts of what ultimately becomes of an empire, especially one that foregoes democracy and peace for the sake of power. Like depicted in this picture, merciless slaughter and the blood of the fallen taint the streets that were once meant for people to walk freely on, and the temples and grand mansions that were the peaks of its time soon disintegrated into nothingness. The biggest indicator of the fall of Cole’s empire, arguably, is the fact that the dead corpses in the image lie where they were killed, in fountains and on top of monuments built to celebrate the affluence and prosperity of the now fallen civilization.

Language in The Tempest

Language in The Tempest has a strong presence as a method of control, specifically as used by Prospero in his control over Caliban. This method of control can be observed in post-colonial America, from the European colonists to the indigenous people of the country, and is analogous with Shakespeare’s play. Colonizers gain control over inhabitants by forcing their own culture onto them and eliminating any contact with the original culture, specifically through language.

During the European conquest over what is now the United States, settlers would use linguistic imperialism in order to unite colonists and eliminate any repercussion from the indigenous colonies as their land was continuously being taken over.

As stated in a journal article in the Journal of Languages and Culture, Language is often a central question in postcolonial studies. During colonization, colonizers usually imposed their language onto the people they colonized, forbidding natives to speak their mother tongues. In the early Americas, European settlers would completely strip indigenous people of their own culture in order to conform them to European culture and to isolate them from their home. This tactic was used to restrict the chances of retaliation and to further spread their own beliefs. To further alienate them from their own culture, they would prohibit people from speaking their native tongue and punish them if they did so. Theodore Fontaine, the author of Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: a Memoir recounts one of the childhood experiences that had left him scarred for life. For about 40 years I was unable to sleep or be in complete darkness. I’d have to have light filtering through a door or blind. This reaction stemmed from my earliest days at residential school. Once when we were all in the playroom, I was playing on the floor with several friends, . . . I was startled when Sister S., the supervisor that day, almost knocked me on my back as she wrapped her powerful, bony arm around mine. I’d inadvertently said something in Ojibway. She’d assumed I was referring to her when a couple of boys laughed at my comment. She yelled that she’d wash my mouth out with soap but instead… I was shoved into a closet behind her chair. It was . . . used to store brooms and other cleaning materials. . . I sobbed for a while, to no avail.

Eventually she let me out. Her first word was Tiens! (Take that!) followed by a warning not to speak my savage language.. The effect that this system had on young Theodore lasted 40 years, and all he did was speak in the language of his society. The common excuse between Prospero and the nuns of Theodore’s childhood is that they are in some way saving the victim from their savageness, and they should be thanked for their actions. Prospero, Miranda’s father and Caliban’s master, is seen by many critics as a representation of the European conquerors who violently took over the Americas, as he overthrew Caliban’s mother Sycorax and stained Caliban’s former life with this new culture and servitude. Prospero tries to take control over the entire play by playing mind games with many characters throughout the book and even seems to break the fourth wall as he expresses to the audience at the end of the play to . . . release me from my bands with the help of your good hands. Gentle breath of yours my sails must fill, or else my project fails, which was to please. Which essentially confirms the notion that he was controlling the island for his and the audience’s enjoyment. Prospero and Miranda claim to be helping Caliban by teaching him their ways and even are surprised when he does not feel grateful for their help. Abhorrí?d slave, which any print of goodness wilt not take, being capable of all ill! I pitied thee, took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour ( Miranda, 1.2.422).

Caliban is just one of Prospero’s pawns, but the most recognizable. As a way to take control, Prospero consistently reminds Caliban of who taught him language when he was a child, and although the gift of language would be viewed as gracious in another circumstance, Caliban resents Prospero for teaching him the language of another culture, because Prospero took away Caliban’s home and family in the beginning, and his own language was the last cultural identity he held. You taught me language, and my profit on ‘t Is I know how to curse. The red plague rid you for learning me your language! Caliban’s only seen benefit from learning their language is that it taught him to swear at them, rather than morph him more into their own culture. The fact that Caliban sees the language he was taught as a burden rather than something to be grateful for shows how much he resents everything about Prospero and Miranda, regardless of whether they were helping him or tormenting him. To conclude, the act of stripping one’s culture from them can result in