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The Tempest by William Shakespeare by Kenneth Pickering (auth.)

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By Kenneth Pickering (auth.)

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Example text

Stephana is reconciled with Trinculo and they are entranced by Ariel's music. Caliban explains how the island is often full of sweet sounds and they follow the music, intent on the destruction of Prospera. Commentary This is a scene of great contrasts: at one level highly comic and yet deadly serious; earthy and prosaic at times and at others richly poetic. The entry of Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban shows them at their most absurd, the contrast between the behaviour of the hardened drinkers and the inexperienced drinker is comic and as the scene progresses it has the ingredients of a 'slapstick' farce.

Prospero now sends Ariel to fetch Caliban with his conspirators and then summons spirits to perform a masque for the entertainment of the lovers. The masque takes the form of a celebration of marriage and fertility and the lovers are transfixed by it. Prospero, however, suddenly recalls the plot against his life and orders the masque to end. He answers Ferdinand and Miranda's concern for his mental state in a speech which dwells on the ephemeral nature of theatre and life and they leave him. Ariel enters and describes how he has led Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo through all kinds of discomfort before leaving them in a stagnant swamp.

Now fading hope has led to physical weariness and despair. Alonso's opening speech ( 4-1 0) demonstrates his spiritual desolation. They are tempted by a representation of worldly pleasures, and they fall- just as Adam and Eve fell from grace 30 with the eating of an apple while by contrast Christ rejected the temptation of food in the wilderness - so we see the sinners attracted to take food from the illusory banquet. In the state of depression which ensues, Prospero can convict Alonso, Sebastian and Anthonio of their sin thereby offering an opportunity for contrition, repentance and redemption.

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