Staging of The Tempest
It is clear that The Tempest depends for much of its success on a wide range of special effects such as sound, lighting, and fantastic visions of the natural and supernatural worlds. Ariel, the mystic spirit, and his cohorts provide some eerie and some wondrous musical sounds, painting pictures with their voices of settings the audience saw. For example, when luring the spellbound Ferdinand towards his future wife, Miranda, Ariel and his fellow sprites caress the shipwrecked prince with harmonious notes which captivate even the crowd. In contrast to hearing Ariel's delightful melodies, Sebastian, Alonso, Antonio, and Gonzalo receive a very different message. When the four men attempted to feast on a faux banquet Prospero has designed, claps of thunder and red lighting consume the stage and faint noises come from Ariel and the spirits, disturbing the men and scaring the spectators. Aside from music used as a median to bring about the supernatural effects of the island, Prospero's presence instigates a change of mood throughout the island and audience because he is, in essence, the artist who creates the stage. When Prospero is first seen he is a forceful figure who not only controls the mystical island which he and his daughter inhabit, but also has authority over Caliban, a brute indigenous "monster" and Ariel, an "airy-sprite" who Prospero sincerely confides in. The audience's first encounter with Caliban prompts Prospero to be fierce, angry, and unopposed to using his authority over the slave. Caliban makes repugnant remarks to both Prospero and Miranda when Prospero uses his staff to taunt the monster, warning Caliban he will be in great pains and cramps if his remarks do not stop. Also, when Ariel is first presented to the audience, Prospero is displeased with the sprite and reminds him that he is simply a servant by binding him to the ground with an unnatural force described by sounds of steel beams meshing and a dull...
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