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The Tempest has been called a tragi-comedy. Show why you think this is an apt classification of Shakespeare’s last play.

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Introduction

LITERATURE The Tempest has been called a tragi-comedy. Show why you think this is an apt classification of Shakespeare's last play. A tragedy according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary is a " drama in prose or verse of elevated theme and diction and with unhappy events or endings ". A comedy is defined as a " stage play of light, amusing and often satirical character, chiefly representing everyday life and with happy endings ". If a play can host elements of the two " genres ", it is called a tragi-comedy. A study of action, characters and themes in The Tempest would reveal if it is an apt classification of the play. The proximity to death is the main criteria that defines tragic events.The opening scene of The Tempest has an obvious tragic potential : a boat conveying the King of Naples and his court is caught in a fierce sea storm. ...read more.

Middle

And afterwards they drink, tell stories, laugh, sing... In Act II, Shakespeare uses a classic device of Commedia dell'arte : misunderstanding followed by beatings. Ariel, Prospero's faithful spirit, plays more tricks on them as leading them through a thorns and brambles and then into a swamp. The end is one of a comedy :a happy one. Indeed, nobody dies, order is restored when Prospero has his dukedom returned, enemies are forgiven and Ferdinand and Miranda will get married. Shakespeare in The Tempest has created many diverse characters. Some lower class characters like Trinculo and Stephano, the boatswain obviously are comic. Ferdinand and Miranda are the young noble lovers, the base of many shakespearian comedies. The give a light, refreshing tone to the play by their innocence and kindness. Gonzalo, Alonso's old councillor is a very positive figure, noble, honest, optimistic but he is too simple to be be tragic. ...read more.

Conclusion

The main theme of the play, the possession and the use of power could have been that of a tragedy.There are many king/subject relationships and most of them go wrong. Prospero loses his dukedom because of his selfish desire to study arts. Sebastian and Antonio seek to murder Alonso and Gonzalo. Both Ariel and Caliban want to break free of Prospero's authority. Treachery and usurpation are present all through the play. Madness, a frequent device in tragedies appears in The Tempest. But another important theme is forgiveness and this is typical of an end of a comedy as is the wedding of two young people. It is clear that The Tempest is the perfect example of a tragi-comedy. In the action, the characters and the themes, the spectator is presented with elements of tragedy and comedy intertwined in a very subtle way by Shakespeare in order to entertain and to present a vivid picture of the troubles of a leader faced with his responsabilities. ...read more.

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