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

The Tempest.

Extracts from this document...


The Tempest Long Essay Magic was a notion firmly embedded in the Elizabethan culture. It explained many things. Discuss the importance of magic in the play The Tempest. "The Isle is full of noises, sounds, and sweet ones, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears: and sometimes voices..." states Caliban (Act III, pg 109) Within Shakespeare's text, The Tempest, set in Elizabethan times, magic is indeed of great importance. Shakespeare gives Prospero the ability to perform magic which allows him to carry out alterations to the world around him. His magic will eventually lead to the restoration of order following the disruption caused, or symbolized, by the tempest; the most obvious and important magical achievement in the play. From the start of the play, Shakespeare uses magic to captivate his Elizabethan audience and move his characters from one scene to another, for example, we are introduced to our first characters during the tempest itself, and it is through this created event that they are transferred to the safety of the island. Magic is frequently used by the main character Prospero, sometimes for compassionate reasons to prevent the suffering of his daughter, but often to make others remorseful and change their ways. Initially, one must examine the importance of magic, which was firmly embedded in the Elizabethan culture. ...read more.


Exhaustion has "dulled the spirits" and they are thirsty, hungry and in need of nourishment after hours of searching for Ferdinand. It is predictable that they cannot believe the feast set before them. Shakespeare conceivably used magic as a tool of importance to develop other characters of the play. The reactions of the various characters to this spectacle reveal their basic nature. For instance, Sebastian's response to the food is 'purely materialistic'2. On the other hand, Gonzalo, 'being the eternal optimist, looks for a rational and reasonable harmony within this spectacle'3 -- "these are people of the island ... their manners are more gentle, kind, than of our human generation you shall find." Moreover, he demonstrates his common sense by arguing against fear and superstition and recognises the necessity of food and drink. Alonso, being a king, also recognises the necessity of the situation. Again, magic within the text is demonstrated as an important tool in the character construction of Alonso, Gonzalo, and Sebastian. The masque is another illusion that Prospero creates with his magic, portraying the vital theme of love and blessings from goddesses. Chastity, which is supported by the masque, is used as a function of control by Prospero. Prospero uses his magic to restrain Ferdinand and Miranda from physical passion, this would imply that 'one would be preserving the social order, showing devotion to one's spouse and a dedication to the marriage union'4. ...read more.


However, it must be taken into account that at the end of the play, Prospero gives up his magic and will bury it "fathoms deep". His books also provide a chief power and source of his magic. These he buries deeper "than did over plummet sound". Magic had set Prospero above the human hierarchy, making him a ruler. Although this power had given Prospero great power to lead the others on the island, it has been 'in the nature of a god that he has led'7. Magic used by Prospero throughout The Tempest, indeed played in important part of explaining many themes such as the setting and context of the play; the atmosphere, the masque and the banquet and of course love and power. Shakespeare may have also used magic to make the play visually interesting and even controversial to an Elizabethan audience. Thus, without a doubt magic plays a vast role in The Tempest of explaining many ideas and issues. Gonzalo states: "We are people of our own minds and no one else's," Indeed, Gonzalo is saying that no one can control what someone sees or does. This is true unless one is of course, using magic. 1 http://www.awerty.com/tempest2.html 2 The Tempest notes. 'Coles' study guide. 3 The Tempest notes. 'Coles' study guide 4 Shakespeare's The Tempest, 'Cliffs Notes'. 5 www.allShakespeare .com 6 Mr. Mcmahon speech notes. 7 www.sparknotes.com ...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

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. The Importance of Magic in The Tempest

    Gonzalo then stops Antonio and Sebastian from murdering Alonso. Ariel uses language more deliberately in Act 3, Scene 2, when he imitates the voice of Trinculo and calls Caliban a liar, causing discord among the rebels who intend to overthrow Prospero.

  2. How far do you agree that The Tempest is a play about the use ...

    Sebastian and Antonio plot to kill Alonso in his sleep: "My strong imagination sees a crown/Dropping upon they head" 208-209. Sebastian is able to seize power for himself as a blood relative. Caliban also highlights to the audience how a once maliciously evil, inhuman slave, whose very freedom is at risk, can submit himself to two drunks.

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

    But only let out when she is feeling threatened, like being with a creature who had tried to rape her. And so if perhaps she were in a cruel, threatening environment for a longer period of time, her character may be completely different!

  2. The Significance of the Island Setting - The Tempest and Robinson Crusoe.

    Also, with the weapons that Crusoe creates with his tools, he saves Friday from cannibals, and makes him his companion. Because of his tools, his supply becomes more than sufficient for survival. Not only has he expanded on the island, but in a way, Defoe also depicts Crusoe's island as a microcosm of European society.

  1. Character study of Prospero

    Evidence of this is when Prospero says: " It goes on, I see, As my soul prompts it." This shows that he is willing Miranda and Ferdinand's love to last so he can exploit it to gain his revenge. Also, another negative aspect to his character as a father is the fact that he I controlling.

  2. Miranda Grey and Frederick Clegg are the main characters that are interpreted in the ...

    Miranda's reference to literature and use of proper speech and punctuation exposes her class. "She talks about the dominance of 'the New People' (epitomised by Clegg) with their belief that money is all that matters, who think that everyone is equal...they misunderstand the important things.

  1. Shakespeares 'The Tempest' as a Study of Colonialism.

    tend to give Caliban far more space than Ariel (who often hardly gets mentioned). One possible interpretation (which I have not come across, although I'm sure someone must have offered it somewhere) is to combine both the theatrical and the political approaches and explore the play as some vision of

  2. The Significance of Colonialism in William Shakespeare's The Tempest (1610/11), Thomas More's Utopia (1516) ...

    protecting his pure, virginal daughter (even though she is quite capable of uttering a profanity herself) from the unchecked carnal desires of the deformed Caliban. This 'preoccupation with preventing sexual connections (or even the threat of such contact) between English women and native men' (Seed 211), has proven itself to

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