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Magic and transformation in the play through language and structure

The play is about transformation both physical and psychological or spiritual beginning with the tempest itself, and magic is crucial in carrying out this transformation. In The Tempest he returns to the topic, but enlarges his focus to encompass different types of magic. The play is full of magic and its effects. The opening tempest, which seems so real, is only an enchantment. Strange shapes, fantastic creatures and wonderful illusions appear music pervades the play mesmerizing characters are all examples of how magic has contributed to the plot of the play. It is part of the play and without it; the play would not be the same. Ariels song expresses the mysterious transformations that take place, as everything undergoes a sea-change, into something rich and strange. Prosperos use of project conveys the impression of him as a magician. The expressions gather to a head and crack also come from alchemy. At the time The Tempest was first performed, understanding of science and the rest of the world was much more limited that it is today. From what was difficult to explain back in Shakespeares time, could have well have been attributed to magic. Certain words can be said to echo themes of the play for example, virtue has many associations with forgiveness, mercy, and good faith. These all symbolise what Prospero recognises that is involved in being human, which his noble reason requires. Prosperos description of his rough magic contains vividly active expressions, which convey both his power and the sense of wonder that runs through the plays. He then personifies time in an image that suggests it runs besides him, conveying his confidence that everything is going his way as planned. The most effective images occur as Prospero invokes his spirits, speaks of his magical powers, and then decides to give them up. Throughout the play, the image of sea recurs in the ebb and flow of Neptune. The images from nature of fairy rings and midnight mushrooms add to the mysterious quality of The Tempest as do all awesome images. Creating the tempest, thunder and lightning, and the image of splitting mighty oaks recalls Ariels imprisonment. Prosperos decision to renounce his magic is conveyed in clear images of simple, direct action. Therefore, we can say that the function of magic helps to support Prosperos authority and power, and provides staging opportunities to perform a theatrical spectacle. A very effective way of conveying the many forms of transformations in the play is the use of contrast. These are the opposition of words set against each other and Shakespeare uses this extensively because contrast powerfully expresses conflict and conflict is known to be the essence of all drama. I read act 5 and found the most striking contrast is Prosperos decision that forgiveness is better than revenge, In virtue, than in vengeance. I saw this as the moral center of the play, and the contrast precisely conveys Prosperos choice of mercy. Shakespeares technique of piling item on item, event on event, is most evident in his invocation to the spirits. Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing

lakes is an example of a list and what follows it conveys the vast extent of the natural world over which Prospero has control. He catalogues all the miracles that his spirits have enabled him to perform. Many relationships undergo a sea-change, they merge (Antonio and Sebastian collaborate to kill Alonso, and the love between Ferdinand and Miranda grows), the master and servant relationship between Prospero, Ariel and Caliban eventually changes to one of freedom. Act 5 shows aspects of the relationship between Prospero and Ariel, and of Prosperos complex character. For example, You said our work should cease can be used to hint at Ariels resentment for serving Prospero for so long and illustrates her eagerness for freedom. Prosperos response, I did say so, is kindly spoken. This brief exchange enables actors to show their interpretation of the master-servant relationship, but the most dramatic opportunity for showing their relationship occurs when Prospero learns compassion and forgiveness from Ariel. His choice for mercy can be seen as a theatrical moment, a moving experience for the audience, as Prospero struggles with his emotions showing in itself a transformation from revenge to then pity his enemies, deciding to forgive them. It is a memorable moment in the play, because it marks a crucial moral shift in Prosperos character. At the lines But this rough magic / I here abjure, the actor changes his tone from the impression of an all-powerful magus to the quiet determination of a mortal man. Act 5 vividly conveys the changes that Prospero undergoes, from revenger to forgiver. As such, it powerfully conveys the plays theme of the desire for vengeance changing to a preference for mercy. This is all part of the story line, which functions because of the role magic plays. The structure of The Tempest depends on the plot, and this is entirely dependent on the use of magic and supernatural powers. Furthermore, the language reflects the art of magic and draws our attention to different kinds of transformations that take place. The transformation of freedom Ariel being freed from Sycorax by Prospero is an example of how magic can be used fairly, yet Prosperos enslavement of Caliban and his insistence on unquestioning service from Ariel are other examples of how magic is used cruelly. Magic is needed to make the transformation, which is the plot of the story and the aspects of language it reveals include imagery, the sea, the theme, ideas, attitudes, and values. Samuel Higgs