Explore the dramatic significance of the island setting in the play

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Explore the dramatic significance of the island setting in the play

In Act 2 Scene 1, Gonzalo’s “lush and lusty” vision of the island is an antithesis to Antonio’s “tawny” view. This links strongly to the theme of illusion, as however the character perceives the island is related to how honest and optimistic they are about other matters. Where Gonzalo is pleased to be alive, Antonio is still finding himself in a dissatisfactory situation. Shakespeare is doing this so that the audience can imagine the island however they want to, with limited scenery in the 17th Century, the language used was important in setting the Scene, however, the island is left as a ‘blank canvas’. It could also be interpreted that the island is not fully described because Shakespeare wants to leave it mysterious, so that the audience can hold a temporary suspension of disbelief, making all of the magic, illusion, monsters and spirits more credible.

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The island is surrounded by water, which is a recurring image in the Tempest. “What cares these roarers in the name of the King?” shows how the water does not follow the divine right of Kings, nature is sometimes more powerful than man, although ironically in this Scene, man is controlling the tempest. The characters’ “rather new dyed than rich with salt-water” clothing portrays the magical property of the water surrounding the island. This is an important part of the setting because it reflects a good omen, making the audience think that everything will probably turn out alright in the ...

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