For The Tempest, discuss, "Contrary to usual belief, The Tempest is a badly constructed play lacking the conflict that is the essence of a drama".Substantiate answers by giving examples from the play.

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shaketeach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a conflict in the play.  It occurs within the character of Prospero.  One only has to look into the language to understand.  The man's mind is racing about.

He harbours a deep hatred of his usurping brother and those who helped him including the King of Naples.  He wants to get off the island.  He wants to find a suitable husband for Miranda.  It appears that he has been plotting his revenge for a long time and he has the power to do whatever he wants to his enemies once he brings them magically to his island.

His inner conflict of seeking revenge is resolved curiously by Ariel.  When Prospero asks about the condition of the King and his followers, Ariel explains their pitiful condition and tells the powerful magician that if he saw them he would feel pity.  When Prospero continues this line of questioning, Ariel tells him that if he were human, he would feel pity.

Prospero changes his mind because he realizes that, "Thought with their high wrongs I am struck to th' quick/Yet with my nobler reason 'gainst my fury/Do I take part.  The rarer action is/In virtue than in vengeance..."

Having written so many plays where violence and revenge lead to more bloodshed, Shakespeare chooses not to continue the violence in his final play.

Shakespeare's late plays are often criticized for various reasons because they do not conform to the established forms.  I contend that Shakespeare was experimenting with the late plays.  As a playwright, it was like, "been there, done that, how about if I try something different".  Like any genius, he was always looking for something new.

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The Tempest

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