The Tempest

by: William Shakespeare

Act III, scene iii

This state of affairs gets at the heart of the central problem of reading The Tempest. The play seems to present Prospero’s notion of justice as the only viable one, but it simultaneously undercuts Prospero’s notion of justice by presenting the artificiality of his method of obtaining justice. We are left to wonder if justice really exists when it appears that only a sorcerer can bring about justice. Alternatively, Prospero’s manipulations may put us in mind of what playwrights do when they arrange events into meaningful patterns, rewarding the good and punishing the bad.


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