Suggested Essay Topics
Act I, Scene 1
1. With disrespect for the king, the Boatswain says, “What cares these roarers for the name of king?” Explicate this passage in the light of the king’s authority at sea. To whose authority did the king succumb? Did the Boatswain have power over the king? Cite examples from the play to support your answer.
2. Gonzalo keeps a sense of humor in spite of the chaos of the storm. Write an essay explaining his joke concerning the Boatswain. Why did he think the Boatswain was the kind of fellow who was born to be hanged? Why would that keep him from drowning? What effect would the Boatswain’s fate have on the other passengers and crew? Draw your examples from the play to support your ideas.
Act I, Scene 2, lines 1-188
1. A primitive island and a civilized Milan are the two opposing worlds of the play. Compare these two worlds in view of the theme of illusion versus reality. In what way is the island an illusory world? In what way is Milan the world of reality? Do the leaders of Milan harbor any illusions? Give examples from the play to support your opinion.
2. The people of Shakespeare’s day believed that the natural order was based on the hierarchy of all beings. In what way does this idea apply to the usurpation of Prospero’s dukedom? What was the result when Antonio became the new Duke of Milan? How did his actions affect the natural harmony of Milan? How did it affect the mutual...
(The entire section is 2575 words.)
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