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The Tempest - Act IV Analysis

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Introduction

The Tempest Act IV Analysis Written in 1611, Shakespeare's drama The Tempest, deals with issues of social order, as well as the 'natural order' of how society should function. Conflicts within the text indicate the need for order and a 'rightful' leader. These themes are reflections of the story, as Prospero the 'rightful leader' was usurped by his brother Antonio, after which, conflicts arise and the drama unfolds. Act four is an important scene in the play and it can be seen as a turning point in the play as well as functioning to produce meanings for the audience. The masque and the marriage act as a representation of a healthy social order, and thus prepare the audience for the mending of social order in the next scene. It also represents fifteenth century ideas of social order and social function of marriage. Finally, the characterization of characters such as Caliban and Prospero in this act shifts the views of the audience in order for the audience to agree with Caliban's defeat in the final act, and thus support a 'happy' and 'rightful' ending. ...read more.

Middle

To this, Iris responds that they are not. Which indicates that love and lust, being Venus and Cupid, are not present in the marriage between Miranda and Ferdinand. This is significant as Ceres explains that these Roman deities, Cupid and Venus, aided Pluto (Dis) in abducting her daughter, Proserpine. Thus lust and love in marriage was seen as indecent. The songs that Juno and Ceres sing during the masque are significant in representing marriage in the 'natural order of things', as Juno blesses the marriage with prosperity and wealth, as well as "honour", social propriety. Ceres wishes them harmony with the earth, as well as the fruitfulness of their lands, which can also be seen as fertility. This is reflective of fifteenth century values, where marriage is subtly glorified as in the 'natural order' given the concurrence on nature and marriage in Ceres' speech. Juno and Ceres also de-emphasize the role of love, personal feeling and sexuality in marriage; instead, choosing to focus on marriage's place in the social and natural orders which organizing society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Act four of the tempest is primarily a marriage, or betrothal scene featuring a masque to bless Miranda and Ferdinand. Within the speech of the three goddesses, Shakespeare is able to share ideas with the audience. Firstly, that marriage is a representation of a healthy social order, which prepares the audience for the rectification of order in the following act, where Prospero is once again Duke of Milan, and Caliban regains control of his island. The masque also represents fifteenth Century ideology of marriage and the natural order and social function, minus the love and feelings. Characterization of Prospero and Caliban function to eliminate the audience's contempt for prospero and sympathies for Caliban. These aspects of the audiences feelings are reversed, so that Prospero can be seen as the 'rightful' Duke of Milan, and thus the audience can relate to and support the 'happy' and 'right' ending, as their feelings have already been naturalized to the outcome. Overall, the act functions to prepare the reader for the end of the play, where the conflicts are resolved, and order is restored. ...read more.

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