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The Tempest

William Shakespeare

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Act IV, scene i

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Act IV, scene i

Act IV, scene i

Act IV, scene i

Act IV, scene i

In almost all of Shakespeare’s comedies, marriage is used as a symbol of a harmonious and healthy social order. In these plays, misunderstandings erupt, conflicts break out, and at the end, love triumphs and marriage sets everything right. The Tempest, a romance, is not exactly a comedy. However, it is deeply concerned with the social order, both in terms of the explicit conflict of the play (Prospero’s struggle to regain his place as duke) and in terms of the play’s constant exploration of the master-servant dynamic, especially when the dynamic appears unsettled or discordant. One reason Shakespeare might shift the focus of the play to marriage at this point is to prepare the audience for the mending of the disrupted social order that takes place at the end of the story. Calling upon all the social and dramatic associations of marriage, and underscoring them heavily with the solemnity of the masque, Shakespeare creates a sense that, even though the play’s major conflict is still unresolved, the world of the play is beginning to heal itself. What is interesting about this technique is that the sense of healing has little to do with anything intrinsic to the characters themselves. Throughout this scene, Ferdinand seems unduly coarse, Miranda merely a threatened innocent, and Prospero somewhat weary and sad. But the fact of marriage itself, as it is presented in the masque, is enough to settle the turbulent waters of the story.

After this detailed exploration of marriage, the culmination of Caliban’s plot against Prospero occurs merely as a moment of comic relief, exposing the weaknesses of Stephano and Trinculo and giving the conspirators their just desserts. Any hint of sympathy we may have had for Caliban earlier in the play has vanished, partly because Caliban’s behavior has been vicious and degraded, but also because Prospero has become more appealing. Prospero has come to seem more fully human because of his poignant feelings for his daughter and his discussion of his old age. As a result, he is far easier to identify with than he was in the first Act. Simply by accenting aspects of character we have already seen, namely Prospero’s love for Miranda and the conspirators’ absurd incompetence, Shakespeare substantially rehabilitates Prospero in the eyes of the audience. We can cheer wholeheartedly for Prospero in his humorous defeat of Caliban now; this is one of the first really uncomplicated moments in the play. After this moment, Prospero becomes easier to sympathize with as the rest of the story unfolds.

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ACT IV, SCENE I QUIZ

When the spirits perform the masque for Ferdinand and Miranda, they transform into which three mythological figures?
Persephone, Venus, and Cupid
Pluto, Persephone, and Venus
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Gonzalo

by SonnetBlossom, July 16, 2013

Gonzalo also mentions that he thinks that the Boatswain is the type of person who looks like he would die by a hanging and not by drowning.He could be suggesting that the boat would not capsize,because otherwise the boatswain would die.

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Alonso,Gonzalo and Sebastian

by SonnetBlossom, July 16, 2013

"My Lord Sebastian,
The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness,
And time to speak it in.You rub the sore
When you should bring the plaster"

In these words,Gonzalo is criticizing what Sebastian has told Alonso.In these lines,Alonso's heart is the sore,made by the loss of his son.Gonzalo says that Sebastian is "rubbing the sore" meaning that Sebastian isn't helping Alonso overcome his loss.The "plaster" is the kind,compassionate and encouraging words spoken by Gonzalo and time needed to mend Alonso's bleeding heart.... Read more

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Humour

by SonnetBlossom, July 16, 2013

The minor character's story runs parallel to the main plot.The minor characters are used by Shakespeare to create humour and lighten the seriousness of the main plot.While Antonio and Sebastian were very serious and sober in plotting Alonso's and Gonzalo's death.The minor characters plan to kill Prospero when they are drunk.

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The Tempest (No Fear Shakespeare)

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