Explore Shakespeare's concern with illusion in his play "The Tempest".

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Priya Patel                                        THE  TEMPEST                                         20/12/04

Explore Shakespeare’s concern with illusion in his play “The Tempest”.

In my essay I am going to explore Shakespeare’s concern with illusion in his play “The Tempest,” in this play Shakespeare had used different forms of illusion in four different ways and means, they are:

  • Deception
  • Magic
  • Dreams
  • Theatrical Illusion

There is a lot of use of illusion in “The Tempest,” it is used mainly to hide things, the actual tempest is an illusion.

Deception is truth concealed by an illusion, there is frequent use of deception in “The Tempest”. The whole shipwreck is actually a magical illusion created by Prospero to bring his former enemies to the island, as this would mean justice for him, as he and his daughter Miranda were cast adrift at sea in the dead of the night by Alonso’s army. In act 1 scene 2, lines 471-475, Prospero says, “Who mak’st a show, but dar’st not strike, thy conscience is possessed with guilt. Come from thy ward; for I can disarm thee with this stick and make thy weapon drop.” Here Prospero is using his magical powers to disarm Ferdinand from his sword in order to take him prisoner, he is doing this to put Ferdinand through some hardship to test the strength of his love for Miranda. This in is an illusion as Prospero has used Ariel, in order to fetch Ferdinand, by getting him to sing a song to Ferdinand in order for him to see Miranda. Prospero deceives Ferdinand by making him think that he is a spy. Prospero’s actions are very clever as they lure Ferdinand and Miranda together, he has used deception in order to make them fall in love with each other.

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Magic is used to create an illusion, “The Tempest”, is entirely the product of Prospero’s magic powers. The ship may have been brought to the island “by accident” but once the people on board the ship are in the reach of Prospero, their fate belongs to him. Magic makes immediate love between Ferdinand and Miranda in lines 420-421 as soon as Miranda sets eyes upon Ferdinand he falls in love with her straight away she says “I might call him a thing divine, for nothing natural I ever saw so

Noble.” We can tell that this is ...

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