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

    Both Ferdinand and Miranda's natures are seen to be innocent and caring but then Miranda for example, is much simpler than Ferdinand and that would probably be due to their different upbringings. An example of this is when they are having a conversation where Ferdinand is being extremely poetic and

  2. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Character study of Prospero

    He does not just control her actions as a normal father may, such as not letting her see certain people or disciplining her. He controls her actions physically using his powers; in one case he casts a spell: "Here cease more question; thou art inclined to sleep."

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

    Governing the island is thus a natural extension of governing Milan (or Henry V's England or Octavius's empire), and the most obvious tool is public theatre. Thus, Shakespeare's farewell to the stage might be seen as an ironic deflation of or farewell to the role of theatre and its power

  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. Consider how the language used by Shakespeare explores the theme of service versus freedom ...

    Caliban's role in the Tempest of how he up sets the normal balance of power. The audience is able to see true depth of Caliban when he is faced with what he perceives as freedom. "Cacaliban Has a new master; get a new man!

  2. "The role of the teacher can often be a negative one" discuss…

    of the repercussions and trauma Miranda might have experienced as a result of his actions. Caliban knows not of the crime he has committed, he does not understand, so like a young child he should have been taught and made to understand why his actions were wrong.

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