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Volume :9 Issue : 33 1989      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Prosperal Solution: A Study of Shakespeare's Vision of Social Change in The Tempest

Auther : Mufeed Hawamdeh

This paper discusses The Tempest as Shakespeare's last vision of social change and amelioration. Shakespeare, too optimistic about the possibility of societal and individual improvement and redemption, arranges for a group of jaded and tainted characters to be washed up on the shores of an island in the New World, and there to be restored to spiritual health at the hands of a qualified redeemer, Prospero. The mission of Prospero in The Tempest is to reunite the characters into an integral whole, and to accompany them to the Old World, where, penitent and enlightened through the healing experience they have undergone, they can establish enlightened relationships and enlightened government.

The reformation of corrupt characters through recreation in an enchanted world is not new in Shakespeare's The Tempest. It is a pattern already present in such earlier works as A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like it, and The Winters Tale. What sets The Tempest apart from earlier plays, however, is the figure of Prospero, who stands at the centre of the play controlling and manipulating all that happens in the play.

Shakespeare endows Prospero with an admirable command of magic, which provides him with power similar to that of the Greek deities. Prospero is also given access to the farther depths of human psyche and mind, an access that enables him to direct his treatment to the very core of his patients psyches and spirits.

In his presentation of an optimistic vision about the regeneration of the human spirit and the advancement of society, Shakespeare does not advocate the possibility of eliminating evil from the world; he rather advocates the necessity of an agent of change to anesthetize and control the powers of evil.

Shakespeare's vision, however, is not native. I-le does not forget to direct our attention to Prospero's human limitations and the magical unreality of his enchanted island. The Elizabethan playwright seems to posit that however qualified man alone is incapable of salvation. The grace of God and providential support are necessary for and healer.

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