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

'To what extent do you agree that the Masque is an "integral part of the action of the play" in The Tempest?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

9th December To what extent do you agree that the masque is "an integral part of the action of the play?" The Tempest was first performed in 1611, at a time when the concept of the masque was becoming increasingly popular as a multimedia event. It represented a fairly elaborate form of courtly entertainment. The masque was usually performed by people of noble backgrounds and therefore when the performers revealed their true identities to their audience, themselves originally of noble background, the courtiers are meant to be seeing an exact reflection of their own personalities. The masque in the Tempest therefore offers itself as not only being crucial to the action of the play, but also as a symbolic tool of the current politics. However, despite its other uses, on a basic level, and perhaps the only level to some of the least educated of the audience, the masque in the Tempest is an important element of the narrative and action of the play. ...read more.

Middle

Prospero's magical art of the masque would have been able to evoke awe and wonder amongst his audience. Despite this, the aspect of the masque which can perhaps be considered to be the most 'integral' is the symbolism illustrated through its performance. The audience of the time, who would have been becoming gradually more accustomed to the spectacle of the masque would have noticed the symbolic undertones of the performance of the masque and would have been remembered for longer than any other part of the play. Prospero is the character able to stir up the show and therefore the masque is a statement of his power. This reminds the audience that Prospero is still king of the island and has the potential to unleash more dominance than any other character. Prospero's ability to create the masque links him to royal power. Other than a character in a play, the King or other people of royalty would be the only members of society able to have a court masque performed for them. ...read more.

Conclusion

The symbolism of how politically important the marriage is to Prospero is also conveyed through the masque. The presentation of Ceres, Iris and Juno in the masque brings a union of earth and air, fire and water. This harmony and balance is a sign that the marriage of Miranda to Ferdinand will be a fruitful one and shows the fulfilment of Prospero's political ambitions. The action of the play is clearly supplemented by the use of the masque. Through it Miranda and Ferdinand are finally brought together and the magic of the island is once again realised. Much of the symbolism of the contemporary politics and Prospero's utopia can also be interpreted as being part of the narrative of the Tempest. However, in his last play it is unlikely that Shakespeare would use such a revolutionary method of entertainment such as the masque just to simply embolden his plot. Shakespeare wanted to not only evoke feelings of awe and inspiration through the use of the masque, but moreover to use it as a tool to showcase powerful and effective symbolism. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Nature vs. Art in The Tempest

    3 star(s)

    Ferdinand is a very good example of a courtly lover, he is kind and courteous, and wishes as much as Prospero for Miranda to retain her chastity. He wishes for his children to be 'fair issue', and he claims that his love 'shall never melt ...

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

    turn, and it was fate that Ferdinand and Miranda fell hopelessly in love. Fate is another theme that isn't only in this play but in a lot of Shakespeare's plays, if not all. The Elizabethans believed very much in fate and astronomy and everything happening for a reason, (again this

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

    It is not only Gonzalo who wishes to protect his reputation, Sebastian also shows a perfect example of how, without aggravation, he almost acts as if it is his duty to disparage Boatswain, this is to assure himself sovereignty: "A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog" (38-40)

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

    Lest we mistakenly believe, however, that Ariel is the source of Prospero's power, Shakespeare has his protagonist recall for the edification of the forgetful fairy (and, of course, for the audience) how "It was [his] art, / When [he] arrived and heard [Ariel's groaning in captivity], that made gape / That pine" (I, ii, 291-3)

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

    When the colonists first arrived in the Cheapeseake Bay area, 'the people in al parts kindly intreated them' (Smith 31/32), and even after some disorder between the two groups, so moved are the Indians by the suffering that the starving colonists are enduring that they even share their corn with

  2. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of the theme of power in the "The Tempest"

    This is one of the first people we see Prospero take control of. We can see that throughout the years Caliban has come to resent the power that Prospero has over him but is still scared of his magic. We can see this because of when Caliban says things like, "A south-west blow on ye/ and blister you all o'er."

  1. The Tempest: Effective Use of Humor

    This humor allows us to see the Miranda underneath the class act and obedient demeanor, the lonely, man craving vulnerable little girl. Her transformation shows her as any other girl fumbling to impress someone.

  2. Discuss the presentation of the supernatural in The Tempest and Dr. Faustus

    The character of Prospero is almost certainly a template for John Dee, as both have rather notable parallels to each other. Both having been exiled with a daughter and conjuring spirits using Magic (Prospero summoning Ariel; ?What would my potent master?

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