Preview
Preview

Illusion and Reality in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essays

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 1542 words (4.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Illusion and Reality in Shakespeare's The Tempest


This essay will discuss the part that illusion and reality plays in developing and illuminating the theme of Shakespeare's The Tempest. This pair of opposites will be contrasted to show what they represent in the context of the play. Further, the characters associated with these terms, and how the association becomes meaningful in the play, will be discussed.

A good starting point to discuss the use of illusion and reality in The Tempest is to focus on the setting in Act I, scene ii. Here, the reader (or viewer) realizes that it takes place entirely in Prospero's cell which is a small room where he practices his magic arts. Miranda here asks her father, Prospero, to make sure that the people on the ship will be safe even though he has created a storm which threatens to capsize their boat and drown them all. Prospero reassures her. He says that he has no intention of allowing the people to die. To reassure her further, he continues by explaining his motives in creating the storm. Here the reader learns that Prospero and Antonio are brothers, and that Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan but that his brother usurped his kingdom and exiled Prospero and his daughter Miranda. Fortune saved the two from their rotting ship which had been set to drift, and brought them to the island where Prospero has been granted supernatural powers by the enemies of Antonio.

From the above description it is clear that the play embraces both the natural and the supernatural world. Twelve years before the action takes place, we are told that Prospero was a prince who had a different type of power than he has now.

Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,

Thy father was the Duk...


... middle of paper ...


...and the event; then tell me

If this might be a brother.

Mir: I should sin

To think nobly of my grandmother.

Good wombs have borne bad sons. (I, ii, 139-144).

Prospero is really the key character about which the nature of illusion and reality centers. He is the one who appears to have been stripped of all his power, and yet he is truly the most powerful; he lives in a world where he can conjure up an illusion of a storm; he lives between a course of regular human action and magic; and he is perceptive about philosophies on the topic of illusion and reality.

In The Tempest, illusion and reality are opposites which may be considered on many different levels throughout the entire length of the play.

Work Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest, edited by Louis B. Weight and Virginia A. LaMar, published by Pocket Books, New York, 1961.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Importance of Language in Shakespeare's The Tempest -    There are many different interpretations and differences of opinion regarding the genre of The Tempest, a play by William Shakespeare. In the essays "The Backward Voice": Puns and the Comic Subplot of The Tempest, by Maurice Hunt, and The Tempest as Romance and Anti-Romance, by Richard Hillman, the genre of the play is discussed in depth. Using elements such as setting, lines of the characters, and the action that occurs in the play, the authors evaluate Shakespeare's play The Tempest to be a romance with a "comic subplot", and thereby show how important the interpretation of the language and interaction is in finding meaning in the play....   [tags: The Tempest Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1862 words
(5.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Tempest by William Shakespeare Essay - William Shakespeare’s The Tempest refines his portrayal of nature from the earlier play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, nature is shown to be mysterious presence that blurs the lines between reality and illusion; it is a magical force that is unreachable and incomprehensible for human beings. A Midsummer Night’s Dream gives nature a mischievous, playful, dreamlike feel because in this play nature interferes for the sake of love. The Tempest breaks down the barrier that divides human society and the natural world, a divide that is present in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, because nature’s presence and effects become more noticeable and it becomes a power that is within th...   [tags: human society, natural world]
:: 2 Works Cited
1846 words
(5.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Shakespeare’s play The Tempest and Michael Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote - How important is an individual that most often than not authors focus on the growth of one over the growth of the many. Is it because the growth of one symbolizes the growth of all. Or is the focus on the individual due to the image it presents which is the growth in us. In any event, this outlook of individualism is widespread in literature and different genres and techniques excavate the development of the individual. Another factor that comes into play in the development of the character is the situation and the effects of the environment....   [tags: Don Quixote ] 1234 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Adaptation of The Tempest by William Shakespeare to the Film "Prosperos Books" - The Adaptation of The Tempest by William Shakespeare to the Film "Prosperos Books" When adapting a play for the screen, a director’s primary responsibility is to visualize an enactment that remains true to the original work’s perception. In addition to this task, the director must also build upon the foundations laid by the script; without this goal, (s)he would have no reason to have undertaken the project in the first place. Providing an innovative reading of a well-known play is undoubtedly a challenging task, but few directors have met the challenge so successfully as Peter Greenaway in Prospero’s Books, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest....   [tags: Papers] 535 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream Essay - William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream    There are so many references to "the eyes" in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that one would expect there to be a solid and consistent reason for their appearance. However, this does not seem to be the case. Indeed, the images associated with the eyes are so varied, and shift so frequently, that it is practically impossible to define what it is they represent. This difficulty reflects the problem of distinguishing between what is real and what is illusion -- a central theme of the play....   [tags: Midsummer Night's Dream Shakespeare Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1659 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Examples of Illusion in Every Reality - Albert Einstein, a world renowned scientist, once said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”. It is interesting to wonder what, in fact, is real or what makes up a reality. While people take different stances on whether or not an illusion makes a reality, like Einstein said, every reality is an illusion. However, some sources may try to convince otherwise. In this sense, an illusion is a misperception of the assumed reality seen through the eyes of the person experiencing it....   [tags: reality, illusion, dream] 1512 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Opposition between Art and Reality in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay - Opposition between Art and Reality in The Tempest       The Tempest is a self-reflexive play that explores the boundaries of art and reality. Shakespeare's island is a realm controlled by the artist figure; where the fabulous, the ideal and the imaginative are presented as both illusory and palpable, and where the audience is held in an indeterminate state, a "strange repose". The juxtaposition of the world of art with political and social realities explored by representative characters is the central contrast of the play, and is foregrounded by the use of non-verbal techniques....   [tags: Tempest essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1078 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Reality and Illusion in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Reality, Appearance and Deception - Reality and Illusion in Hamlet   Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, begins with the appearance of a ghost, an apparition, possibly a hallucination. Thus, from the beginning, Shakespeare presents the air of uncertainty, of the unnatural, which drives the action of the play and develops in the protagonist as a struggle to clarify what only seems to be absolute and what is actually reality. Hamlet's mind, therefore, becomes the central force of the play, choosing the direction of the conflict by his decisions regarding his revenge and defining the outcome....   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]
:: 3 Works Cited
882 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Analysis of Shakespeare's The Tempest - A Jungian Interpretation Essay - A Jungian Interpretation of the Tempest   Shakespeare’s Tempest lends itself to many different levels of meaning and interpretation. The play can be seen on a realistic plane as a tale of political power and social responsibility. It can be seen as allegory examining the growth of the human spirit. The Tempest investigates marriage, love, culture. It is symbolic of man’s rational higher instincts verses his animal natural tendencies. This is a play of repentance, power, revenge and fate that can also be seen as fantasy, dream, imagination, metaphor or magic....   [tags: Shakespeare The Tempest]
:: 2 Works Cited
2401 words
(6.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Shakespeare's Hamlet - The Reality of Appearances Essay examples - The Reality of Appearances in Hamlet      Within Hamlet the notion of appearances (through apparitions and mental afflictions) lies in direct dichotomy of reality.  This becomes evident through both plot and character.  The continual demise in Hamlet’s mental state is an important issue which leads us to question his actions and motives within the play.  In this essay I shall be attempting to elucidate how the reality of appearances is a central theme.             The play's plot is full of incidents and events that are not what they appear to be....   [tags: Reality Illusion Hamlet]
:: 4 Works Cited
1292 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]