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Analysis of the tempest.

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Analysis of the tempest. The Tempest as a whole is influenced by the Masque, and hence the play may really be seen as a vehicle for stage spectacle, song and dance with a light underlying moral meaning, rather than a serious drama containing any real depth of plot and character" There is some truth in this criticism, but I believe that there is lot of hidden depth that can be explained in order to understand where Shakespeare's ideas really came from. In this essay I intend to prove that, through the Masque and through character detail, that this play has thematic depth and richness of character. The Masque originated from Italy and came to France and England in the late 16th century. It became formalised through the work of Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones. The Masque was dramatic and musical entertainment using elaborate and expensive properties and machinery, and was usually commissioned for Great State occasions. The debate to whether the Tempest was or even contained a Court Masque was argued by Orgel in 1987. His argument for disagreement was that, because of the time the play was written, Masques were a fluid genre, with no absolute lines between a dramatic performance and a revel. ...read more.


The action of the Masque was not normally limited by chronological time: their idealized figures could alter the drama, however momentarily, taking Prospero away from a world of action and passion and toward the realization of another sort of possibility in life. Prospero's awareness (when he leaps back to reality) of the time - both the masque's timing and the play's - constitutes both his art and power, showing his total command of the action moment by moment. Hate, Love & Music The critical statement states that the play contained no real depth in plot and character. It maybe agreed that the plot is rather basic, but the creations of Shakespeare's writings within the play express a degree of realistic feeling and emotion, especially Prospero, Ariel and Caliban. Throughout the play there is some spectacular performance from Ariel and other spirits, which all amount to adaptations of Anti-masques. Even though the plot and structure are very basic, it does not mean that the characters have no real depth. This depth can be shown through most of Caliban's poetic speeches. His character driven by so much emotion, revenge and passion, can show extremely uncivilised and brutal temperament, but can also show the beauty of his inner nature. ...read more.


Music is employed through Ariel, to exercise magical control over the ships crew and also Caliban. Music is heard on occasion to draw characters mysteriously towards Prospero's cell, for example: "Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not" Act III, Sc II, 132-33 This shows the enchanting effect it has: "The sound is going away: let's follow it, and after do our work.." "Lead, monster: we'll follow - I would I could see this taborer!" Act III, Sc II, 145-48 These quotes further cementing the idea that music was used to draw characters to certain destinations chosen by the enchanter, Ariel. Conclusion In Conclusion, I would only agree with the statement as far as to say that The Tempest was influenced largely by the influence of the Masque, but disagree with the idea that the characters have no real depth, as I feel I have proven to an extent that almost all of the characters had hidden depths. In my view the Tempest was most definitely written primarily as entertainment for royalty, and that the Masque spectacle may have been added as an elaborate set piece to make the play more occasion-appropriate, but most of the characters derived by Shakespeare for this play contain depth, moral meaning and individuality, and I feel I have proven this in my essay. ...read more.

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