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The genre of The Tempest.

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Introduction

The genre of The Tempest: The Tempest is customarily identified as the William Shakespeare's last piece. These marginal issues aside, The Tempest is the forth, final and finest of Shakespeare's great and/or late romances. Along with Pericles, Cymbeline and The Winters Tale, The Tempest belongs t the genre of Elizabethan romance plays. It combines elements of Tragedy (Prospero's revenge/Loss of a royal son) with those of romantic comedy (the young lover Ferdinand and Miranda) and, like one of Shakespeare's problem plays, Measure for measure, it poses deeper questions that are not completely resolved at the end. The romantic gesture is distinguished by the inclusion (and synthesis) of these tragic, comic, and problematic ingredients, and further marked by a happy ending(usually concluding in a masque or dance) in which all, or most, of the characters are brought into harmony. The term romance is given to the comedies written at the end of Shakespeare's career. Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winters Tale and the Tempest. They were written between 1608 and 1612 and are different in style to his earlier comedies. Whilst love and marriage are they key themes in these plays, they focus primarily on the separations and reunions of families and culminate in homecomings, reconciliation's, rebirth and redemption. ...read more.

Middle

In the tempest the plot can be viewed as matching perfectly the typical Elizabethan revenge tragedy, up until the point when Prospero and Miranda are banished on the sea. Bradley claims that we can categorize a play as a tragedy when a person of high rank suffers a fatal fall and experiences exceptional suffering. However when we compare the main characters suffering with that of, for example, Macbeth, we cannot but be struck by the different effect of the reader or audience. By this standard the plays do not fit the tragic pattern [Also, in the tempest there are no deaths, all that were split in the storm were reunited at the end of the play] This point between two styles to which Shakespeare brings us in the last plays, with for example the characters poised just on the brink of death, is neither comedy nor tragedy. This type of scenario has lead to the Tempest being labeled a Tragi-comedy. According to Greenblatt a feature of the tragi-comedies is that they expect us to imagine a turn of events against the evidence of our senses.. ...read more.

Conclusion

This theme of renewal and regeneration is the moral message which ties together not only the disparate elements of style, but also the last plays as a whole. The themes of innocence and experience are tied up in this regeneration, the new offering innocent hope for an older, corrupted generation. Miranda and Ferdinand, unite the broken relations of their fathers and seal the band of reconciliation. In The Tempest Prospero himself can also be seen to embody regeneration and spiritual development, for through his magic he brings about the repentance of Antonio and Alonso, and the marriage which is to achieve the regeneration. Through Prospero also, the disparate styles are united. He is the symbolic figure in which the tragic events are rooted, for he is both victim of revenge tragedy and the hero who suffered from a fatal flaw. So too is he the instigator of the play's romance. With his magic wand we find he has caused the shipwreck of the first act, which initially seemed to be rooted in realism. The mixture of styles in both plays are, then, successfully combined. They work together to produce a unified whole; separately and collectively combing to 'exert [an] energy' which enhances and balances the moral message of Shakespeare's last plays. ...read more.

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