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'The Tempest' Act II Scene I.

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Introduction

'The Tempest' Act II Scene I In this scene the characters of Gonzalo, Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio contrast each other as follows. Gonzalo is full of good cheer and 'merry', he is an optimist and tries to cheer up Alonso by telling him that he does 'have cause of joy'. Alonso in contrast will not be cheered up and is manically depressed because he believes that Ferdinand has drowned. Alonso finds Gonzalo tiresome, commenting to Gonzalo 'you cram these words into mine ears, against the stomach of my sense.' Antonio and Sebastian pair at the beginning of the scene and mock Gonzalo sarcastically saying that he is 'winding up the watch of his wit.' Our encounter with Antonio whereby he shows no remorse what so ever for usurping Milan from Prospero confirms Prospero's description of Antonio's ruthless greediness and craving for power. From the previous scene we are aware of Antonio's ruthlessness when we discover that he was well prepared to kill his brother Prospero in order to gain full control of Milan, and might well have done so had they not feared a revolt from the Milanese people in response. ...read more.

Middle

would be removed and all could live naturally and authentically. In this way, though Gonzalo's idea is not presented as a practical possibility (judging by the mockery he receives from Sebastian and Antonio), Gonzalo's dream contrasts to his credit with the power-obsessed ideas of most of the other characters, including Prospero. Gonzalo would do away with the very master-servant motif that lies at the heart of The Tempest. Unfortunately for Gonzalo, Alonso finds the old man's comments tiresome, but Antonio and Sebastian mock Gonzalo both for his views and for the dull way in which he expresses them. A greediness and craving for power seem to motivate Antonio in his long discussion with Sebastian. The mockery dished out by Antonio and Sebastian reveals, in contrast to Gonzalo, the noblemen's cynicism and lack of feeling. Where Gonzalo is simply grateful and optimistic about having survived the shipwreck, Antonio and Sebastian seem mainly to be annoyed by it, though not so annoyed that they stop their incessant jesting with each other. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Act II scene I by conspiring against the sleeping king, however, Antonio and Gonzalo reveal themselves to be more sinister and greedier than Gonzalo recognizes, using their verbal wit to cover up their darker and wickeder impulses. In Act I scene II Miranda suddenly grows very sleepy, perhaps because Prospero charms her with his magic. When she is asleep, Prospero calls his spirit Ariel. In his conversation with Ariel we learn that Prospero and the spirit were responsible for the storm. In both of these instances when a character is in a state of sleep they are usually exploited somewhat. In this scene Antonio and Gonzalo conspire to usurp the sleeping king, whilst in the previous scene Prospero sends Miranda to sleep to disguise his devious plans with his spirit Ariel. The fact that Prospero can control sleep and wakefulness emphasises that he is the centre of power that can control events throughout the play through magic and manipulation. Both instances illustrate how even when a character is in the state of wakefulness they are able to control those around them how they choose. ?? ?? ?? ?? Richard Stephens 23/09/03 1 ...read more.

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