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The Tempest Written By William Shakespeare - How does the opening scene capture the audience, introduce themes and characters and sustain interest bearing in mind the construction of Shakespeare's theatre?

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By Sabina Chan The Tempest Written By William Shakespeare: How does the opening scene capture the audience, introduce themes and characters and sustain interest bearing in mind the construction of Shakespeare's theatre? This play is unlike any other Shakespeare play. It contains magic and supernatural things. In Shakespeare's time, people believed in magic because they had poor education and could not explain natural events. In 'The Tempest' the main themes and characters are introduced in the opening scene. The tempest is the symbol of change. In the Tempest, order has been upset by the overthrow of Prospero. The storm brings the people responsible to the island so that order can be restored. 'A tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard'. So already Shakespeare is getting the audiences attention by starting off the play with a ship in the middle of a storm. The play begins on a ship, with a shipmaster, a boatswain and mariners trying to keep the ship from getting wrecked and killing passengers. Then Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio and Gonzalo enter and get rude to the boatswain. The Boatswain orders action to save the ship but disaster strikes. Miranda and her father Prospero are left on the island. Prospero begins to tell her his history, and how they became upon the island. During the storm, Boatswain talks to noble men with a polite manner, but after when he lose his temper, he curses and is blasphemous. 'A plague upon this howling! Have you a mind to sink?' His authority on the ship overrides the traditional hierarchy where the king is in charge. Alonso gives the audience the impression that he is worried, but is also kind and caring. ...read more.


The second view is that nature is naturally bad, and therefore cannot be left to its own devices, but must be controlled and educated in order to become good. In this second view, nurture is superior to nature. This belief is expressed in Prospero's opinion of Caliban 'on whose nature nurture can never stick'. Here, nature is naturally untrustworthy, savage and evil: Caliban is incapable of being educated or trained. Finally the last theme that is used is Sleep and dreams. Sleep and dreams recur often in the pay. Prospero sends his daughter Miranda to sleep, Ariel causes Alonso and Gonzalo to sleep, as a result provoking brutal thoughts in Antonio and Sebastian. The sailors are asleep throughout the entire play. Caliban has such wonderful dreams he always wishes to be asleep. Gonzalo has a vision of his 'commonwealth' in his dream, and what the perfect Utopian society would look like. The reason why Shakespeare used many different themes was that it made the play more interesting and grabbed attention from the audience. In this play the main characters are introduced in the first scene, one of the main ways that this is done is through-using magic. To sustain interest throughout the play there must be a strong beginning with a good opening scene so the audience will respond more to the play. So Shakespeare used a good dramatic opening scene, when Prospero cursed a storm. Shakespeare used very good dramatic techniques in the opening scene. There are many characters in this play and most of them are introduced through the first scene. Prospero is the main character of this play, Prospero used to be the legitimate Duke of Milan. ...read more.


Iambic means two syllables, first a soft syllable and then a hard syllable. Pentameter means five feet to a line. So each blank verse line has ten syllables in the soft-hard pattern. Although this format varies here and there with an extra foot or a short foot, most of the lines will parse. Since Shakespeare could not dim the lights or draw a curtain, rhyme was employed to close scenes. These are called 'capping couplets'. Rhyme is also used to indicate a sudden attack of love. Lastly, prose appears in the plays. Prose may indicate that a person of lower status is speaking or that someone of higher status is speaking in a rude or impolite way. Shakespeare's language differs from modern language. Obsolete words were used, but these are no longer used in English. Some examples are wrack for wreck, fain for gladly, and wherefore used as why. Also words that have changed meaning for example art meant skill and brave meant splendid. The English used to have a familiar form of the subject 'you'. The words thee/thou/thine/thy, etc. are familiar, and indicate relationship or social class. The 'thou' form is used with close friends or family members, with pets, with servants, and with those lower in social class than the speaker. Shakespeare often uses this form expressively: simply calling an enemy 'thou' indicates disrespect. To conjugate the familiar 'thou', a different verb ending is added generally t, st, or est (as in thou shalt, canst, dost, hast, or art). In conclusion in my opinion I think that 'The Tempest' does catch attention to people in the audience as the opening scene was dramatic and tense. Even though there were no special effects the whole scene and the way the play was written and all the themes that were used didn't need any big loud effects, as the story was interesting. ...read more.

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