In the play The Tempest, do you think Prospero is really Shakespeare saying farewell to the stage?

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I think that it is really difficult to try to figure out what an author was thinking when he wrote a particular character or line.  All I can say is that what you are asking could be true, but I have no way of saying that it is or is not.

You can clearly say that Prospero resembles a playwright.  He makes a whole story happen and come together out of thin air, just as a playwright does.  This can seem like magic when it is done properly.

When Prospero "retires" it is his "book" that he will sink  -- this could be an allusion to the "book" of a play.  In addition, Prospero talks about the dissolution of "the great Globe itself" which could be a reference to the Globe theater.

But Prospero's character makes sense if he is just a character in a made up story.  So it is impossible to tell if Shakespeare really meant him to be a metaphor for Shakespeare himself.

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