• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Shakespeare ensure that the theme of usurpation and its consequences runs throughout The Tempest?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Shakespeare ensure that the theme of usurpation and its consequences runs throughout The Tempest? The Tempest is a late romance, which is a mixture of comedy and tragedy and during the play Shakespeare puts across his Church of England views on usurpation. Before we discuss how Shakespeare ensures that the theme of usurpation and its consequences runs throughout The Tempest, we need to define the meaning of the term usurpation. Usurpation is when someone wrongfully seizes/assumes the power or the throne. An example of usurpation was when Napoleon usurped/seized the power from Louis XVI. The main plot of the play is to do with Prospero seeking revenge on his brother for taking his place as the Duke of Milan and leaving him and his daughter Miranda adrift in a boat to die. Prospero wants order to be restored and for him to be back as the Duke of Milan. During the play there are also two subplots involving a couple of people wanting to usurp the King of Naples and a group of three people wishing to usurp Prospero. Some aspects of the idea of usurpation occurs in nearly every scene in the Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" The theme also occurs in a verity of different circumstances and between different groups of people all wanting to overthrow the rightful person for there own benefit. ...read more.

Middle

Sebastian was quite happy to let Sebastian become King. Sebastian tries to persuade Antonio by telling him "Here lies your brother, No better than the earth he lies upon, If he were that which now he's like, that's dead". By saying this he is trying to imply that he may as well be dead because he is like the earth and almost at the bottom of the chain of being. Sebastian even goes as far as saying if you don't want to kill him yourself; I'll do it for you. The next piece of usurpation that was incorporated into the play occurred is driven by Caliban's desire for revenge and the greed of Trinculo and Stephano. During Act 3 Scene2 pages 80 onwards Caliban explains to Stethano and Trinculo how Prospero took the island from him, and tells them that had now became his slave. Caliban persuades to Stephano and Trinculo to usurp Prospero by killing him. There is evidence that Caliban dose in fact only want revenge on pages 80 and 81 when he describes very graphic ways to kill Prospero. These quotes tell us that he has been dreaming and waiting for this moment a long, long time. At this point in the play most if not all the audience would have now lost any sympathy for Caliban. ...read more.

Conclusion

The consequences of usurpation are also highlighted in this play During Act 2 Scene 1 Gonzarlo give an ironic speech all about his idea of a kingless society. Gonzarlo is talking nonsense for if there was no king evil men with a greed for power such as Antonio would take over anyway. The irony of this speech is that Gonzarlo quickly contradicts himself for he says that if he were king there would be no king. If there were no king the country would be in chaos for there would be no one to stop power hungry men from taking over and ruling themselves, there would be no one to protect the country from war, a civil war would almost immediately brake out between those who want to rule the country and there would be nobody to say what's right and what's wrong. Overall the play has very traditional and Christian values for example there is and empathises on the chain of being and that Machiavelli's idea is completely wrong. Also the Christian view of forgiveness is also empathised in the play through Prospero when he forgives his brothers wrong doings although his brother did not apologise and was not sorry. The play ended with order being restored just like in a tragedy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level The Tempest section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

There are some good points made in this essay and it is an interesting topic to explore. The theme is a good thread to follow through 'The Tempest' but the links must be made; so rather than looking at each point independently the structure of the play should be considered by linking the points and considering the direction of the whole play. All points should always be justified with evidence from the text; there are some good observations made about characters here but they do need to be supported.

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 22/04/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Tempest essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Nature vs. Art in The Tempest

    3 star(s)

    the 'isle...full of noises...that give delight'. Although the aforementioned attempted rape of Miranda is evidently not praiseworthy, he does seem to be at one with the 'sounds, and sweet airs' of 'the Isle', and those arguing for natural man could commend this.

  2. Explore how Shakespeare presents the theme of power in "The Tempest"

    He orchestrates the meeting of Miranda and Ferdinand deliberately, presuming that they will fall in love. Although Prospero forbade Miranda from telling Ferdinand her name, he knew that they would inevitably fall in love. He does not want Miranda to appear as a prize that can be easily won, saying

  1. The Tempest has been called a tragi-comedy. Show why you think this is an ...

    Their ridiculous behaviour calls for laughs. Indeed, when they come together in Act II, Scene 2, the episode of the " monster " is purely designed by Shakespeare to amuse.

  2. The Tempest- The Significance of the love story between Ferdinand and Miranda in the ...

    The older generation, even though they've been through trials and suffering that Prospero had inflicted on them, they still are fairly fixed characters. Antonio and Sebastian will remain villains lurking in the background, Gonzalo is still noble and wise, Alonso, even though he repented and regretted what he had done,

  1. The Importance of Magic in The Tempest

    Ariel uses language as a form of magic. Ariel's charms take the form of mystical songs. In Act 2, Scene 1, he awakens the counsellor Gonzalo with the words "If of life you keep a care, Shake off slumber and beware, Awake!"

  2. Explore the relationship between servants and masters in 'The Tempest'.

    superiors and is certain that it is his destiny to be hanged. Therefore by divine right they must safely return to land for him to meet his fate. This is a peculiar relationship between these people of differing status, and reflects the insecurity of the people with higher status when their "lesser" peers give them orders or prove them wrong.

  1. How does Shakespeare present Caliban in TheTempest ?

    These more structured lines indicate Caliban's importance as a character. An example of these speeches is at the beginning of act 2, scene 2. He is very insulting towards Prospero 'all the infections that the sun sucks up, from bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall...'

  2. Discuss the presentation and significance of Caliban in 'The Tempest'

    Prospero treats Caliban and Ariel very similarly when they disobey him "I will rend an oak and peg thee in his knotty entrails till though hast howled away twelve winters" (Act 1, Scene 2, L295). Prospero threatens both Caliban and Ariel when they don't obey Prospero's orders.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work