Revenge In The Tempest

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A tempest is typically known as a violent gale that can rival a tornado or hurricane in intensity and raw power. However, most English majors and literature enthusiasts associate the term “tempest” with one of Shakespeare’s final plays: The Tempest. Focusing on a revenge plot for banishment, the play’s main character, Prospero, utilizes his smooth tongue and magical properties to gain revenge on his past king and brother for stealing his dukedom away. Though this plot sounds like a fantastical story of revenge and retribution on the surface, deeper themes of rest underneath its waves as this play has been known not only for being one of Shakespeare’s final theatrical releases, but for being Shakespeare’s supposed love song or ode to the theatre.…show more content…
After watching a small part of his revenge play out in front of in the form of Ariel’s act as a harpy, Prospero comments that the spirit had “performed” the “figure of this harpy” in a way that had been, in his words, “of my instruction” (Shakespeare, III.iii.84-86). The specific word choice utilized in these lines by Shakespeare suggest the prevalence of the theater. If the small play that Ariel participated in throughout this scene had been under the instruction of Prospero, the emphasis on the word “performed” and well as the emphasis on “instruction” seems to suggest that Ariel and Prospero can be classified into the categories of “performer” and “director” respectively. Just as a performer must obey and answer to a stage director, Ariel must listen and obey not only to the directions Prospero gives in concern to his revenge, but also to his overall demands and instructions; from the beginning as master and servant, this type of power balance had existed, but through the medium of their small production, they are capable of gaining titles such as “actor” and “stage director.” Viewing The Tempest already through the lenses of the theatre, Shakespeare not only establishes Ariel’s exploits as a harpy as a type of performance, he assigns this “stage play” a creator, or in stage production terms, a
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