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Discuss the Dramatic Significance of the opening scene of The Tempest

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Discuss the Dramatic Significance of the Opening Scene of Shakespeare's Play 'The Tempest' The opening scene of William Shakespeare's play 'The Tempest' is a dramatic significance for many reasons. The name of the poem is linked into the story straight away because these men are trapped on a ship in the midst of a storm which is the literal meaning for tempest. The tempest itself is like an eruption of drama and action, the way it destroys is almost symbolic of overthrow and usurpation which is echoed later on in the book. The fact that there is a king on board the ship makes this scene all the more tense because if the storm succeeds in destroying their ship then he shall probably be killed along with most the men which is very likely considering that a tempest is probably the most dangerous storm to be caught up in. ...read more.


The way he keeps shouting and swearing does not help the tension already growing because it starts to scare the mariners more and more until they break out in disruption by shouting to everyone, 'All lost! To Prayers, to prayers! All lost!' The social hierarchy is irrelevant in this scene and disrupts everything because nature has now become in charge of them and has made the scene much more dramatic and people lower down in the hierarchy like the boatswain are starting to give orders like, 'Take in the topsail' and, 'Tend to th' master's whistle' to those higher up like Gonzalo, Antonio and even the king of Naples, Alonso. This produces outbursts from and creates conflict between those higher up at being spoken to by someone so low like the boatswain. ...read more.


To prayers, to prayers! All lost!' and then leave again and the boatswain says, 'What, must our mouths be cold' which refers to drinking and the fact that he does not want to give up without having a drink first. The scene provides an initial crisis and disruption which the rest of the play should hopefully resolve. As there would have been little scenery or any elaborate stage effects used in Shakespeare's theatre, the language creates vivid pictures of the storm for the audience to imagine for themselves the conditions of this setting. The boatswains numerous correct nautical terms also let the mind imagine the scenery. The end of this opening scene is done so with tragic suggestion and acts as a cliffhanger that enters you into the next scene where the truth I discovered about the lives of the men on board the ship. ?? ?? ?? ?? Camilla Corbett, Luxmoore CJS ...read more.

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