Nature of Man
In order to connect with his Christian dominated audience, all of Shakespeare’s plays contain important allusions to the bible. The Tempest is no exception. Throughout the play various allusions to the Genesis story of Adam & Eve are made. This serves to portray men in a state of nature which plants the question of whether men are intrinsically evil or good. In the play the island is described as a Utopia. This can be seen in Gonzalo’s speech in Act 2, Scene 1 “No kind of traffic would I admit; no name of magistrate; Letters should not be known, riches, poverty and use of service, bound of land none...No occupation, all men idle, all, And women too, but innocent and pure (Shakespeare)”. Here Gonzalo describes the type of world he would create for himself if he was ruler of the island. The Utopia he ends up describing has many similarities to the Bible’s Garden of Eden. Gonzalo would reject from the island earthly possessions and inventions such as metal, wine and weapons. This would create a world with no possessions and weapons which would keep people in a state of nature where greediness and jealousy would not exist. When Gonzalo says “Letters” he really means “Learning”. Banning learning is something very similar to what happened in the Garden of Eden where Adam & Eve were not allowed to eat form the Tree of Knowledge and share God’s wisdom. Having knowledge makes men independent as they will start to do things by themselves which distances them from God and make their own order. Here Shakespeare suggests that just as this was the downfall of Adam & Eve, it will also be the downfall of man. Sebastian comments that marriage would also not be allowed in Gonzalo’s Utopia. In the story of Adam & Eve, they don’t get married until after they had been banished from the Garden of Eve. This suggests that marriage also distracts men and women from God as it makes them dependent on their partner rather than God. Marriage would also give people a sense of...
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