The significance and aptness of the title "The Tempest" is immense. Though not apparent at first, the title is skilfully used by the dramatist to enmesh the various themes, motifs and subplots in his play into a closely knit unit.
The title is not the mere reflection of a storm that characterizes the opening scene; rather, its essence lays the foundation that links disparate elements throughout the play. I believe that the tempest is a symbol of the torment and suffering endured by Prospero for twelve years, the injustice thrust upon him for which he seeks retribution. It is a clear manifestation of his rage, of the storms and conflicts that have ignited within him over the past few years. Prospero uses his art to put "the wild waters in this roar" and bring his enemies at his disposal, just as he was put to the mercy of the sea along with his infant daughter. Hence the tempest is a symbol of the frightening, potentially malevolent side of his power.
The tempest is conjured by Prospero to set into motion a sequence of events that aim to terminate the strife and anguish in his life. Using his black magic, he creates an environment to instill fear and panic in his enemies. There is uneasiness and uncertainty aboard the ship in distress. Nerves snap and conflict ensues. This is clearly evident when the boatswain orders members of the court party, "keep your cabins-you do assist the storm." He establishes his authority and challenges Gonzalo to "command the elements to silence and work the peace of the present." However, his dismissive and defiant attitude is interpreted for impudence and impertinence. Members of the aristocracy are insecure and the mask their fear with profanity. Antonio, along with the others, is consumed by hopelessness and grief and leaves with a curse, "Would thou mightst lie drowning, the washing of ten tides." The boatswain is unaffected as he believes that social hierarchies are flimsy and unimportant in the face of nature's wrath....
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