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University Degree: The Tempest

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  1. One of the issues dealt within William Shakespeares play, The Tempest, is exactly the issue of the desire for control, power imbalance and challenging authority, the natural order. Through the construction of the characters in the play, Shakespeare por

    Many fine scholars have analysed this play in depth, but Gerald Hammond, in his study of seventeenth-century English poetry and poems, Fleeting Things (1900), makes a fine observation of how the characters in the opening scene introduce the problem of authority and power imbalance. Hammond states, "The Tempest begins its exploration of the uses and abuses of authority with a foundering ship on which passengers and crew are at odds." Indeed the shipwreck in the opening scene of Act I shows how the low-status character, Boatswain, rejects the social authority order and commands the King and Noblemen, as if of higher power and status.

    • Word count: 1555
  2. Discuss the role of divine providence or destiny as used by Shakespeare in 'The Tempest'.

    Unlike Ariel, who is explicitly aware of the influence that she can have over destiny, ( I and my fellows/Are ministers of Fate [III.iii.80-1]), the only symbol that Miranda can have any control over what lies before her is implicit. The game of chess with Ferdinand in Act V ( Sweet lord, you play me false! [V.i.172]) is frequently interpreted as having overtones of cheating, implying that a less than auspicious future lies before the couple. Miranda may have the power to avoid this future - but if she does, she does not know it, and is thus subject to Destiny and Providence.

  3. Compassion is what causes us to forgive. Not because someone deserves it, but because they need it" (Giles 1). In the plays Macbeth and The Tempest

    How's the day?" (Shakespeare The Tempest 5.1.2-3). This greeting to Ariel shows that all he cares about is himself from the beginning. Prospero harbors a great deal of resentment about his treatment back in Milan and is never very far from wanting to exact a harsh revenge Without Ariel even asking, Prospero feels the need to reiterate how his plans are working perfectly and how he will not change because it is just right. After much observation, it is now that Ariel realizes that Prospero is missing something very important: "If you now beheld them, your affections / would become tender / Dost thou think so, spirit?"

    • Word count: 2168
  4. How can the dramatic presentation of Caliban and Miranda affect the dominant readings of the play

    Shakespeare uses contextual points of the times that are integrated somewhere in the play. For example; the idea of Colonialism, enslavement of the Africans and the conventions of the renaissance period Themes of Nature or nurture, Masters and Servants and The Supernatural run profusely in the play and of which I will elaborate later on in the essay. Caliban, the only native of the island as well as Prospero's slave is described as part man, part beast and a mixture of humanity, as well as boorish wickedness. In dramatisations of the play, he is usually played by a black man to emphasise issues of colonialism and the enslavement of the black people from Africa throughout the play.

    • Word count: 2631
  5. Discuss the discourse of colonialism in The Tempest.

    Caliban is presented to us as the embodiment of all that is primitive and savage, the epitome of degenerate man. He is the indigenous inhabitant of the island on which the play is enacted; this island is his birthright, a legacy from his mother Sycorax, and a fact that Prospero chooses to ignore as he assumes control of this alien land. The relationship between the two is at first amicable and Caliban appears to have welcomed Prospero and his appearance of care and concern; 'When thou cam'st first | Thou strok'st me and made much of me'3.

    • Word count: 2739
  6. The Self presentation skills of Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela.

    Frequently he expressed himself in a formal register to signify respect and seriousness, yet he was also able to interweave colloquial language to show a common cultural identity with his audience. But even in formal mode, his lexis is kept simple to avoid semantic and psychological barriers, as in the following quotation: "You can't separate peace from freedom because none can be at peace unless he has his freedom".

    • Word count: 526
  7. Hegemony is everything - The Tempest.

    The advantages of Gonzalo's commonwealth are multiple in my eyes. The island as the reader knows it is filled with people who do not want to be there. Gonzalo, in his optimistic nature, describes a way to make a commonwealth that would accentuate the positives of the situation. In his commonwealth, society would be completely opposite to the way they knew it, and quite frankly the way society is today. His society is described as one without the constraints of money and poverty, and because of that there is no need for servants, inheritance, or even employment.?

    • Word count: 850
  8. Anton Chekhov wrote quite a few plays which were inspired by actual events of his life and how he felt. Is The Bear sending a message that there is love at first sight or just a myth we would like to believe?

    He is laughing at us, but given his own amorous escapades, he is also laughing at himself (Fen 7). The Bear is a story that takes place in the home of an affluent Russian widow which is invaded by a boorish creditor. Sparks fly between them leading, inevitably, to farcical, satiric romance. Though easily dismissed as vacuous fluff (as if often was by Chekov himself), this is a neatly mounted story of characters trapped in a cycle of irrational self-destruction. Smirnov blustering bully falls head over heels in love for the umpteenth time, utterly convinced that this time will be different when it is blatantly obvious that it will not, while the widow finds herself irresistibly drawn to a

    • Word count: 1369
  9. Hybridity is the sign of the productivity of colonial power

    This concept, reflecting the diverse racial mix in the postcolonial world, has been labelled hybridity. Hybridity grows out a prior concept relating to the mutuality of the crucial 'latent' (to use Said's[1] term) binary which underlies so much colonial discourse. This is based around the notion of self and other: the hardening of a basic conceptual strategy (arranging the world into the familiar and strange) into an elaborate and often damaging ideology. For example, Europeans counterpointed what they saw as the qualities of civilisation with various formulations of 'other' based around the other continents.

    • Word count: 2749
  10. Discuss the ways in which Grotowski's proposals for 'Holy Theatre' can be related to the ideas about the function and purpose of performance which came out of the historical avant garde.

    Grotowski wanted to create a new relationship between the actor and spectator. He knew that without the spectator, theatre would not exist and so wanted to create a complete experience for them. He wanted more than Brecht's desired audience response and felt that if the audience only related to a performance intellectually as in a Brechtian performance or aesthetically which might be found in Stanislavskian productions, they were not fully experiencing the event. Grotowski fought to break down the barrier between actor and spectator, as through this a spectator could fully become part of the production.

    • Word count: 2925
  11. In what ways can "The Tempest" be read as colonial literature? Compare real history with Shakespeare's text.

    The flagship got separated and landed in Bermuda. People first thought Bermuda was a haunted place but the sailors that were stranded there found out is was anything but haunted and scary; it was a very beautiful and serene place. A rebellion ensued when some of the sailors wanted to stay and live on the island when others were about to leave on their rebuilt ship. As The Tempest has historical roots within this book, it then can be read as colonial literature with regards to the New World (the Americas)

    • Word count: 1597
  12. "Based on the evidence in the text, do you think that Conrad intended Heart of Darkness to be read as an anti -colonialist literature? Or is the colonial setting just a backdrop for an adventure story?"

    Conrad was born to Polish parents and was educated at a young age. He and his family lived happily until Russia invaded Poland. During the Russian occupation, Conrad along with his mother and father were sent to prison. His mother died in prison while later when Conrad and his father was released, Conrad would be devastated again with the death of his father; Conrad was only eleven years old. He would later live with his uncle and stay with him until he completed his education. Conrad moved around and traveled a lot to which would serve as backdrops for his stories such as in Heart of Darkness.

    • Word count: 2137
  13. The Tempest Act One, Scene One - review

    When the royal party appear and demand to take over the running of the ship and begin ordering the mariners around, Shakespeare introduces the idea of the nature of authority, questioning whether the King should have absolute power all the time, or give command to someone far more experienced than he, showing that the play will be a test of true characters. The boatswains commands reflect the urgency of the situation in their short, exclamatory sentences "My Hearts! Yare! Yare!

    • Word count: 827
  14. An account of the concept of 'History' and its engagement in the novel, "The English Patient".

    (Renger, 2000: 113) Ondaatje uses historiography to shatter the old view of a uniform European construct which contained certain perspectives allowing the European claim to authority to be crushed. (Renger, 2000: 114) This claim to authority is crushed by proving Western world historiography to be subjective and fictional. (Renger, 2000: 113) As colonialist powers used history as a tool for the formation of dominant ideologies, Ondaatje uses history to change these formations through representation, absence, domination, and appropriation. An example of Ondaatje's history as a mechanism for change occurs on page 232 "Ah, but my brother thinks me a fool for trusting the English....One day, he says, I will open my eyes.

    • Word count: 1281
  15. How does The Tempest reflect the consequences for various characters of the isolation of the individual from society?

    It represents "the bounds of things, the remotest shores of the world". On the boundary of reality, the island partakes of the natural and supernatural, both the imaginative and the real. It allows the exploration of both man's potential and his limitations, his capacity for reform through art and his affinity for political and social realities. It is in constructing this opposition between art and reality and in giving Shakespeare's Romance the freedom to explore mankind free from the concerns of everyday life that the setting of The Tempest is crucial to its overall dramatic design.

    • Word count: 1626
  16. The Tempest - Select two brief thematically related passages, one from each of the versions of the play, and write 600 words on what these passages say about the different conditions in which they were written.

    In Shakespeare's epilogue he makes a clear statement of faith and gives Prospero the task of admitting that the play world now lies in ruins, and to appeal to the grace of the theatre audience. On line eleven and twelve of the epilogue he says, "Gentle breath of yours my sails must fill, or else my project fails". Here he is asking for good comment on the play, and as Shakespeare had shares in the Globe and was part owner in the Blackfriars theatre he had a vested interest in his plays being successful.

    • Word count: 644
  17. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare and Morrison both use slavery as a means of voicing their perspectives on imperialism.

    Morrison admits to '[thinking] the unthinkable' and this is obvious when schoolteacher's nephews - the 'two boys with mossy teeth' - suck the milk from Sethe's breasts and later beat her with cowhide until they 'open up' her back. (17) Morrison uses other devices in order to express the coldness of the slave trade. As such she utilises the terminology of accountancy in order to highlight the fact that the colonisers saw other humans as merely property to be bought and sold.

    • Word count: 3895
  18. Many claim that Shakespeare's last attempt at the theatre was unsuccessful; resulting in a play that is, in essence, about nothing. The Tempest.

    This storm goes to demonstrate that all in theatre is not as it seems, and that one event can drastically change the suspected outcome. The tempest, as title of, and introduction to the play, also symbolises the power of attraction. Without the tempest, Prospero could not have attracted his adversaries to the island, as without the story of The Tempest, Shakespeare could not have attracted his audience to the theatre. When considering The Tempest as an allegorical look at theatre life, it is necessary to look outside the words and discover meaning behind the characters, thoughts and places within the play.

    • Word count: 1089
  19. Away: Not a Postcolonial Novel

    It is in this way that Away serves to perpetuate colonialist attitude. The historical evens in Away are written in a neutral tone. That is to say that they are presented in a straightforward manner as a backdrop to the story. This offhand way in which the events are told conveys a sense of truth. This truth is based on a Euro centric sense of universalism, and conveys the idea that historical events can be told objectively. The sense of truth is produced from the omniscient narration of the story.

    • Word count: 1794

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Discuss the ways in which Grotowski's proposals for 'Holy Theatre' can be related to the ideas about the function and purpose of performance which came out of the historical avant garde.

    "In conclusion, there are several ways in which one can relate Grotowski's holy theatre to the ideas that came out of the historical avant garde. The most important of these was the rediscovered idea of theatre being like ritual. Another important relation between the two is the way in which performance can be used within society as a 'counter-culture' and way of informing audiences about world events and how ridiculous they are when one sees them within a performance. I feel that these two genres act as inspiration to spectators, spiritually through ritual and socially through the topics they satirised. They give spectators a new means to act against society without resorting to violence. 1 Jarry, A, Ubu Rex, Xerox provided by M. Gale, 1896. 2 Apollinaire, G, The Breasts of Tiresias, Xerox provided by M. Gale, 1917. 3 Schechner, R and Wolford, L, The Grotowski Sourcebook, Routledge, 1997. 4"

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