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What is the role of the supernatural in William Shakespeare's The Tempest?

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kuollutlintu | (Level 1) Honors

Posted July 6, 2012 at 2:14 AM via web

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What is the role of the supernatural in William Shakespeare's The Tempest?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 6, 2012 at 8:50 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many supernatural elements in The Tempest by William Shakespeare. When Ariel false describes the drowning of the false Duke, he states:

Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

The notion of the sea change refers not only to the idea of death by drowning, but also to a removal from the quotidian world of the mainland to the magical world of the island, in which justice and right relationships are restored by the power of magic.

Of the characters, Prospero is a human magician and Ariel and Caliban entirely supernatural beings. That the restoration of Prospero requires magic suggests that in our unmagical world it is improbable that the disempowered could achieve restitution, i.e. that a real Prospero would have died in the storm rather than regaining his dukedom.

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