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Historical Context of The Tempest

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Introduction

The Historical Context One thing that probably influenced Shakespeare to write the Tempest was the event that happened in May 1609. A fleet of nine ships set out from England, with five hundred colonists on board. Their goal was the newly founded colony of Virginia, where the settlers intended to begin a new life. They hoped for fabulous fortunes because of everything that they had heard about the natural riches of America. But disaster struck. In the great storm, the ship carrying the expedition's leader, Sir Thomas Gates, became separated from the fleet. The ship was driven onto the rocks of Bermuda, a place feared by sailors and known at the time as the Devil's islands. The rest of the fleet sailed on, and reached Virginia, and sent back news to London of the loss. This is almost mentioned in the script by Ariel, when telling Propsero what she has done with the ship. ...read more.

Middle

When, after great difficulties, they set sail the two mutineers elected to stay behind on Bermuda. It is still thought now that the Bermuda area has a magical essence about it. Many reports of boats, planes and other vehicles disappearing into the Bermuda 'Triangle'. Leading people to believe that there is something mystical about Bermuda having power over transport. It is possible that Shakespeare had used this story to base the Tempest on. The terrible storm that befell the colonists is similar to the storm that was conjured up by Prospero to wreck to Royal's ship. The two mutineers who are similar to Antonio and Sebastion, who are plotting to kill Alonso and the fact that everyone returned safely. Aesthetic, scientific, social and philosophical texts formed an essential part of Shakespeare's life and often show themselves in his plays. Whilst it is unknown how dramatists drew from such sources, consciously or subconsciously. ...read more.

Conclusion

Beset by political troubles, Rudolph, much like Prospero and his cave, retreated to his palace library and consoled himself with books. Propsero is also, many say, directly related to Shakespeare. If we look back over which plays were written before the Tempest they included Othello and Macbeth. These plays are dark and depressing which could be seen as the 'Tempest' of Shakespeare's life in the play the Tempest is calmed and Prospero takes his revenge. Eventually he closes with an apology and a goodbye statement. This is Shakespeare saying goodbye to the theatre and the theatre audiences. "Now I want Spirits to enforce, art to enchant; And my ending is despair, Unless I be relived by prayer, Which pierces so, that it assaults Mercy itself, and frees all faults. As you from crimes would pardoned be, Let your indulgence set me free." Shakespeare is saying that he hopes people will let him retire, giving him their applause for not only this play, but for everyone on he pieces of work. He hopes to remembered for doing great. ...read more.

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