Speeches in The Tempest versus As You Like It


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The speeches delivered by Prospero and Jacques each hold extensive contrasting differences. Both Prospero, the tempestuous protagonist in The Tempest, and Jacques, a minor melancholy character in As You Like It, see things in a dissimilar light. They have gone through things in their lives that have shaped their thoughts and opinions on certain topics. Prospero and Jacques’ show this in their moods and then in the subjects of which they speak. By perceiving the contrasting objects in Prospero and Jacques’ speeches, we find that they are quite different in character.
Things that have happened, to both Prospero and Jacques, have had an effect on their moods. Before Prospero delivers his speech, he discovers that Miranda and Ferdinand are in love and declares happily, “It goes on, I see, as my soul prompts it” (Act 1 scene 2, (424-425). Then cheerfully adds, “So glad of this as they I cannot be, who are surprised withal. But my rejoicing” (Act 3 scene 1, (95-97). Jacques, on the other hand, when hearing Duke Senior state, “Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy” (Act 2 scene 7, (138-141) openly disagrees. He then proclaims, “to speak my mind, and I will through and through cleanse the foul body th’ infected world, if they will patiently receive my medicine” (Act 2 scene 7, (138-141). His view of the word seems to poison his mind resulting in his despondent mood. The events that occurred to Prospero and Jacques find a place in their thoughts and are responsible for altering their attitudes.
The disposition of Prospero and Jacques’s speeches differ seeing as Prospero’s shows signs of happiness while Jacques’ only shows a depressing hue. Prospero shows a happy tint to his speech namely when he says “Be cheerful, sir. Our revels now are ended” (Act4 scene1, (147-148). Jacques, contrastingly, shows his ever-present melancholy personality by saying words that have negative tones such as “Mewling…puking… whining… [and] …unwilling” (Act2 scene7, (147…150). The attitudes that Prospero and Jacques have, reflect in the content of their speeches.
Prospero speaks more about heavenly things while Jacques spends his whole speech addressing the life of man. Prospero seems to be fascinated by mostly spirits and heavenly structures as found in the following passage: “These our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits and are melted into air, into thin air …[along with] the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, [and] the solemn temples” (Act4 scene1, (148-153).

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Jacques diverts his attention to what he calls the “seven acts of man” which range from a whining infant to a fragile old man. He talks of how man has no true purpose than to act out his life. Prospero talks of how amazing heavenly things are while Jacques, contrastingly, talks about how purposeless man is.
The events that they encountered, the mood that was set, and the emphasis on dissimilar subjects show how Prospero and Jacques’ speeches differ. Both Prospero and Jacques fluently lay out their perception of different views and subjects in their speeches. They both appear to be characteristically divergent, yet they back up their ideas flawlessly by speaking persuasively.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest, edited by Louis B. Weight and Virginia A. LaMar, published by Pocket Books, New York, 2008.

Shakespeare, As You Like It, in The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. David Bevington, 4th ed. (New York: Longman, Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 2008).


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