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HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE OPENING SCENE AS AN INTRODUCTION TO 'THE TEMPEST'?

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Introduction

HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE OPENING SCENE AS AN INTRODUCTION TO 'THE TEMPEST'? The opening scene to Shakespeare's last complete play, 'The Tempest' is set out at sea where a ship is struck by a tempestuous storm. This play questions the theme of colonisation and anti-Semitism which were very relevant to America in the seventeenth century. Throughout the first scene it becomes apparent that the cause of their shipwreck was due to Prospero. Prospero who spent a lot of time studying magic asked his brother to take over his Dukes title while he studied magic further; with this he was able to impose a storm over the ship in which his brother, who had refused to return Prospero's title, travelled. The opening scene portrays themes which are distinguished throughout the rest of the play. The raging storm helps to dramatise this scene while the various disputes between several passengers abroad adding to the humour, also making the audience wonder how the progression of time on the island will effect them. ...read more.

Middle

This inappropriate response highlights his insecurity of not being in power and his inability to take orders showing the aristocracies in a negative light, portraying them as shallow and arrogant. This draws parallels to the chaos of society in the sixteenth century. It shows incapable leaders not willing to step back and let someone more competent handle the situation. Antonio and Sebastian both want to "sink wi'th' King". This conveys their vanity, they feel that it would bring them honour after their death however it is apparent that the desire this purely to benefit their own status. Antonio mentions that he has been "cheated out of our lives by drunkards". This enhances the audience's perception of his selfishness. He is criticising those who are trying to save his life through his inability to hand over control. Furthermore, Gonzalo uses misogynous comments enhancing the idea that he is incapable of handling this situation in a constructive manner. He says, "Were no stronger than a nutshell, as leaky as an unstanched wench." ...read more.

Conclusion

There is also the suggestion that the sea equates the characters. They are all in the same position; there is no separation between the treatment of the nobles and the sailors displaying their indifferences despite their various perceptions of themselves in society. The chaotic opening to this play is poignant as traditionally tragedies end in chaos and disorder, maybe giving a forewarning as to the commotion that occurs later in the play. The dramatic tension caused by the storm creates an effective opening to the play as within it it encapsulates many themes and symbols which are relevant to the rest of the play. As a performance it would help to draw the audience into the action and would encourage them to feel inquisitive about the character's destinies. The various characters are clearly depicted within this scene, in this situation the conflict between them is potentially threatening to their lives which again would draw the audience further in. The themes and symbols in the opening scene help to are depicted as continuous plot lines which give the play a linear feel, making it easier to watch. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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