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Explore the dramatic significance of the island setting in the play

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Explore the dramatic significance of the island setting in the play In Act 2 Scene 1, Gonzalo's "lush and lusty" vision of the island is an antithesis to Antonio's "tawny" view. This links strongly to the theme of illusion, as however the character perceives the island is related to how honest and optimistic they are about other matters. Where Gonzalo is pleased to be alive, Antonio is still finding himself in a dissatisfactory situation. Shakespeare is doing this so that the audience can imagine the island however they want to, with limited scenery in the 17th Century, the language used was important in setting the Scene, however, the island is left as a 'blank canvas'. ...read more.


The most striking feature of the island setting is the intense isolation. "Sycorax... thou knowest was banished" onto the island so that she couldn't produce offspring into the habituated world. They sent her to the island because there was nobody else on there for her to populate it with. Others may interpret her banishment as means of a prison, but "the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs that give delight" and being banished there doesn't seem like a fitting punishment, apart from the intense loneliness. With the island being isolated, Miranda has only ever seen her father and Caliban, this adds to the plot and the credibility when she instantly "changes eyes" with Ferdinand. ...read more.


A lot of curiosity would surround this theme; and Shakespeare is making an interesting link to events of the time. "We are such stuff as dreams are made on" and "the great globe itself shall dissolve" is directly linking the island on the play to the theatre. Prospero is saying in this speech that the island is all illusion and fantasy, and so is the "great globe". By directly linking the two, he has involved the audience deeply into the play. Shakespeare's theatre was called 'the Globe', so the audience would have easily seen this link, and started questioning how real their "little lives rounded with sleep" were, preparing them for the end of the play. Overall the island is ideal for "The Tempest" as it provides a very mouldable and magical setting for a play that is full of unrealistic yet enchanting ideas. ...read more.

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