The Tempest Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What is the theme of William Shakespeare's The Tempest?

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The Tempest, like any complex work of art, has more than one theme. One of its major themes, however, is redemption—particularly redemption through suffering and learning.

The play is difficult to classify, being variously labelled a comedy, a romance, and a "problem play." Another way of looking at it, however, would be as an "after-tragedy." Prospero's story before the play begins satisfies all the requirements of a tragedy listed by Aristotle in the Poetics: a great man falls from a high estate through a tragic flaw. He initially shows arrogance but gains knowledge of himself and the world.

Prospero's fall from the Dukedom of Milan happened before the beginning of the play. His process of gaining self-knowledge is ongoing. As the play progresses, he becomes less irascible and manipulative, to the point where he is ready to leave his exile on the island and become a great man in the world again—though he does not expect to rule long in Milan where, he says, "Every third thought...

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As it is the last work of the dramatist, Shakespeare treated his own professional life as the central theme for his play. The magic wand of Prospero is really the pen of the playwright with which he had made all the brilliant plays. Another theme of the play is sin and forgiveness. Prospero, a lover of books and philosophy, lost interest in his dukedom. He allowed his dukedom to be userped by his brother Antonio with the connivance of Alonso, the king of Naples. The play treated the themes of sin, atonment and reconciliation through the incidents in the deserted island.Prospero thought not only of his revenge but also about the well future of his daughter Mirinda. Prospero practiced the purgatorial trial of some kind to avenge his enemies. Put his enemies in trial of strong feelings. Alonso's mind is purified with the trail of giving pain of his own son's death. Even his daughter's love is testified.