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What is the dramatic significance of Act 2 Scene 1?

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Introduction

What is the dramatic significance of Act 2 Scene 1? Although in the previous act we were briefly introduced to the characters, their statuses were made clearer than their personalities which are conveyed in further depth in this scene. Prospero's story told to Miranda gives the audience a grasp of the identities of the people on stage in relation to him and why he may want them on the island in the certain groups, which is imperative if the audience is to understand the motives behind the characters actions both beforehand and presently. This is shown in the conversation between Antonio and Sebastian, as we were made aware of their crudeness and selfishness in the first scene, but it is only now that the relationship between them is conveyed. This is depicted by the continuation of each other's jokes, and the similar way in which they view the situation: "ADRIAN: The air breathes upon us here most sweetly. SEBASTIAN: As if it had lungs and rotten ones. ANTONIO: Or as'twere perfumed by a fen." ...read more.

Middle

Prospero sent Ariel to put the Court Party to sleep, using it as a judge of character owing to the trend in Shakespeare that those susceptible to music or sleep are of a better nature, and those who are not have guilty minds. One of the main themes of the play is remorse and redemption, and starting points for these issues are founded in this scene, mainly in Alonso. In Prospero's account of his overthrow, he paints a picture of a very different man to which we see. He called him "Enemy" and yet when his son is then lost on the island he decides to dedicate his time on the island to finding him, showing none of the selfishness present in many of the other characters, differentiating him from Antonio with which he was associated in the Prospero's narrative. I believe that this is dramatically significant because no convincing character has only one side to them, and so seeing both enables us to react as though he is not just a fictional personality. ...read more.

Conclusion

The conversation becomes more private and intimate giving a contrast to the open conversational exchanges witnessed at the beginning of the scene. This section also makes a slight distinction between Antonio and Sebastian as mentioned previously, as Sebastian does not agree right away nor does he think of the idea himself. I think it is important to do this as otherwise it may be seen that Sebastian has the same scheming, overly-ambitious mind as Antonio, which is not the case. The language of the scene helps highlight the main and most important sections, and in some cases, uncovering the intentions of the characters. Gonzalo begins in blank verse to show his idealistic view on ho they could start a utopia on the island, giving way to prose which adopt a more serious tone, as Alonso brings the attention back to his missing son. Antonio's quick mind is shown through his language when convincing Sebastian to become king. He starts off using informal prose, but then changes his language to blank verse to show his meticulousness and deliberate choice of words. This trait was also noted by Prospero in Act 1 Scene 2 where he clamed that "set all hearts...to what tune pleas'd his ear". Em Collins 12BD Mrs. Durban ...read more.

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