Throughout the play there can be found examples of the ever-present theme f illusion versus reality in the actions of the characters, as well as in events that take place. Some of the most important elements of the play are presented by way of illusion and, therefore, hold meaning outside of what they first appear to be. Magic plays a considerable part in the workings of the play, as do the sources of the magic.
In recognizing the part played by this theme of illusion versus reality, one can more clearly understand why certain events take place in The Tempest A good starting point to discuss the use of illusion and reality in The Tempest is to focus on the setting in Act l, scene it. Here, the reader (or viewer) realizes that it takes place entirely in Prosperous cell which is a small room where he practices his magic arts.
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Miranda here asks her father, Prosper, 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. Prosper 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. Nature vs.. Civilization. Clinical and Ariel represent nature (earth and air in fact), as does the wild and unblemished island. In Act l, scene ii we are told much about its natural history.
It has wolves, urchins (hedgehogs) and mussels, rocks and coves, fresh water springs, oak and pine trees. Prosper brings civilization and a degree of order to this world, but is this a good thing? Reconciliation and forgiveness. As the play opens, Prosper is seeking vengeance upon those who have wronged him. However in the final Act he forgives, and all are reconciled. “… The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance: they being penitent, The sole drift of my purpose doth extend Not a frown further. Go, release them, Ariel. ” Tempest By loophole