Theme Of Civilization In The Tempest

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The Theme of Nature and Civilization in The Tempest

The Tempest, written by William Shakespeare, mostly takes place on a magical island Prospero got exiled to, but it shows a clear divide between nature and civilization. The play starts with Prospero and Miranda living in exile, and through this play, Prospero tries to go back to Milan, where he used to be the duke. When Alonso, the king of Naples, Antonio, the usurping Duke of Milan, and other nobles are caught in the tempest and arrive on the island, they soon realize that the traditions and rules that are applied in the man’s world do not exist on the island, where everything is natural. Although the wildness and civilization have a clear divide, the play shows a theme of different nature, which is the characters’ identities. Even though physical nature cannot be civilized, it can help humans to recognize their nature. In nature, hierarchy does not matter. A person with the power to control others’ lives inevitably becomes the top of everything. When Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, Gonzalo, and others come out of their cabins on the ship in the tempest and ask where the Master is, the boatswain says, “To cabin! Silence! Trouble us not” (1.1.17-8). On the ship in the tempest, none of the rules of the social class apply from the court. The king and lords must comply with the orders of the boatswain, who can pilot the ship to save them from the tempest. In nature, nobles must acknowledge the fact that they are not
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