The Tempest Beginning And Closing Scenes

1450 words - 6 pages

Elizabethan theatre is known for giving the entire story away in the first scene. The opening lines explaining the entire story, giving away the ending along with it but, the point being how the story progresses from point a to point b. William Shakespeare’s dramas did not differ from this Elizabethan custom. In his 1610 play “The Tempest” the beginning scene and epilogue are crucial to the significance of the play in its entirety. Through the dissection of the Milan court system in the explosive opening scene, and its concluding superior restoration in the closing scene, Shakespeare is able to more thoroughly elaborate and exhibit innate character traits in the major roles.
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Additionally one of the most intricate changes taking place in the play is within Prospero. Considering his intentions with wrecking the ship, presenting his enemies to the island-we can not desert the idea that Prospero holds pent up aggression and resentment towards the courtly world in Milan. Although he holds the power to significantly exact a harsh revenge on the parties that usurped him, Prospero never completely acts upon it. We learn a deal more of Prospero’s character beginning with the final act, when he realizes that revenge is not the proper response. This awareness comes from Ariel when they reflect on the fact that all of Prospero’s enemies are now in his power and painfully confused (V.1.8-20). The following conversation delivers the most important lines in Prospero’s characterization:
“Ariel:...if you beheld them, your affections would become tender.
Prospero: Dost thou think so, spirit?
Ariel: Mine would, ser, were I human
Prospero: And mine shall. Hast thou, which art but art a touch, a feeling of their afflictions, and shall not myself, one of their kind, that relish all as sharply, Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art? Though with their high wrongs I am struck to th’ quick, Yet with my nobler reason ‘gainst my fury
Do I take part. 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. My charms I’ll break, their senses I’ll restore, and they shall be themselves.” (V.I.19-32)
In the final lines in this conversation the reader sees Prospero’s compassion which ultimately leads to actions based upon virtue rather than vengeance. At the end of the act, Prospero is restored to Duke of Milan, Ariel is released from servitude, and Miranda is willingly given to love Ferdinand. The story ends with almost every original problem resolved primarily through Prospero’s decision to forgive. Concluding with a new order established and the audience is given a deeper and more involved insight into Prospero’s character.
However it is Antonio and Sebastian initiating and creating the main problems in the play, and their characters are announced in the opening scene where they are characterized as “evil” and typecasted as the antagonists when they ardently refuse to listen to Boatswain’s orders and Sebastian says, “A pox o’ your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog”(I.I.41-42) and shortly after Antonio remarks, “Hang, cur! Hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker! We are less afraid to be drowned than thou art”(I.I.44-46) proving their rudeness as a feature to their overall evil demeanor. It is an premature discovery that they enjoy control, even in situations about which they know very little; they resist the authority of someone as lowly as a sailor and try to give orders and commands. It is this hunger for control that leads to their downfall and in the ending reconstruction scene they are exposed for the...

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