Interpretation Alternatives of Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay

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Interpretation Alternatives of The Tempest

   A production of The Tempest should emphasize the idealized methods in which Prospero uses magic to solve the problem of revenge which is so prevalent throughout his tragedies, perhaps the production might be a direct allegory for the magic of the theatre itself.   In this conception of the play, the scattering and bringing together of the characters in the script is significant in that theatre also could be said to bring people together and allow them to share in an experience of emotion, magic, and finally, of resolution. In this way the production could be used as a vehicle for conveying the idealistic virtues of forgiveness, compassion, and of course knowledge. In his book, A Buddhist's Shakespeare, James Howe draws attention to Prospero's epilogue saying,

"In his epilogue this master, Shakespeare, has the character Prospero ask us, the audience, to confirm our collusion with both the master and his creature. Indeed the two relationships are reciprocal. We are asked to release Prospero from our "spell" by "prayer." Becoming white magicians, offering a supplication to God, we reenact the righteousness of Prospero's power, and thus confirm it. This confirmation, in turn, acknowledge's the power of Shakespeare's play to transform us into Prospero's image. We are not only to be consciously complicit in Prospero's character and action, but also to be fully aware of their author." (191)

It seems to me that this final transformation in the audience is a very worthy goal to strive for in a production of this play. While being entertained by the magic and splendor of the production itself, I think it is possible for an audience to also be aware of the inherent ideals in the s...

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...d truth in the story. While this would clearly be the most problematic interpretation of the script, perhaps it would also be the most effective by far for a modern audience which does not enjoy being preached at or having their truth force-fed to them in a boring, easily-understood, linear manner.

Works Cited

Cahn, Victor L. Shakespeare, The Playwright Praeger Publishers. Westport CT. 1996

Charney, Maurice. "Bad" Shakespeare Associated Univeristy Press. London, England. 1996

Howe, James. A Buddhist's Shakespeare Associated University Press. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. 1994

Hylton, Jeremy. Complete Works of WilliamShakespeare, Oct 4, 1999. Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Kathman, Dave. Dating The Tempest Personal site <>


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