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The Tempest

Coming back to Shakespeare feels rather natural, having done one of his plays every year of high school, and preformed a few of them throughout elementary. Though I’m more used to his tragedies than comedies, so this was a bit of a change. I do admittedly enjoy Shakespeare, having done so much with it in the past. The language isn’t as foreign or tricky anymore, though it does still have its challenges, just to a lesser extent. Perhaps it’s just because I’m used to Shakespeare’s plays that I like them, I feel a little more confident in my ability to write an essay on one.

            Though I wouldn’t say The Tempest was my favourite play, I did like it. I found, for one thing, a few Machiavellian ideas that ran through it, prominently with Prospero. Arial does his dirty work, and so he very effectively keeps his hands clean. He’s certainly manipulative and deceiving, never letting on to how much he’s pulling the strings.

            I found the most interesting characters of this play to be Caliban and Ariel. I guess I’m intrigued by their suffering, I feel as though these characters had the most depth of them all. Though I’m not discounting the others, I do believe they all have very multi-layered complexity and are by no means overly simplistic. It’s just that Caliban and Ariel most caught my curiosity. This could have something to do with the fact that I read a book a few years ago called “eyes like stars” by Lisa Mantchev, which portrayed Ariel as a very significant character who was slightly villain like, and deceptive and tricky. So, coming into the book, that was the impression I had of Ariel. While reading the book, however, I didn’t interpret Ariel like that. Though he certainly causes trickery and deception, I took this as only to be Prospero’s bidding, which he’s doing to serve his desire to be freed. He’s not like puck, who takes more joy in his mischief.

            I pictured Caliban as a sort of hunchbacked man, somewhat like Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame. He was given fish-like qualities but I interpreted that as greasy hair and his odd frame. I suppose that my mind went to lengths to picture him as human, despite evidence to the contrary. I was reminded of Richard III, probably largely because of the hunchback, but they both seemed misinterpreted by those around them. Caliban is not as cruel as Richard III was depicted to be, however. But his appearance did play a very large role in how he was thought of.

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One thought on “The Tempest

  1. I believe that Caliban’s looks are purposefully left vague by Shakespeare. He leaves the description of Caliban up to the reader and hopefully brings about the idea of what could be monstrous about him.

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