The Tempest

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This paper shows that "The Tempest", by William Shakespeare, provides an arena for much interplay between illusion and reality. Prospero, Duke of Milan, facilitates this interplay. Prospero uses the study of magic to disillusion the other characters brought to the island by way of the tempest. This essay will discuss instances of illusion and their respective impact on the play in how they bring the theme of illusion versus reality to light.

The play itself is orchestrated by Prospero, who acts as a God-like figure, manufacturing the audience to directly question what is delusion and what is reality. His magic gives him the power to manipulate the mindset of not only the characters, but the audience as well. The audience are the only people who are able to decide for themselves what seems to be real and what is not real. Because the audience is not directly part of the play, they are not caught up in the ‘illusion' that Prospero created for the characters. In our society, humans do not know for a fact if our world is a created illusion. It may be a reality, but like in The Tempest, it is a reality for the characters but an illusion for Prospero. Can humans question the legitimacy of our existence? Do humans also have a divine figure like Prospero and his powerful tool of influence? Like the play, the question is up to ‘us' (humans)-Is our world an illusion or reality and are all of our life experiences orchestrated by that figure? Ultimately, all people should be knowledgeable enough to assess the world they are living in and be able to come to their own conclusion of what is real and what is not.
The characters in the play do not have the option like the audience to view their lives as an illusion or reality. To them, it is a reality, to Prospero, it is an illusion, and to the audience it can be either. The audience are given the option, through Prospero's use of magic, to decide whether the play is an illusion or reality and if their...
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