Use of Noise and Music in The Tempest
Many times throughout The Tempest, Shakespeare would couple his use of a bare stage with music and other various theatrical noises in order to create a deeper connection with his audience, whether they are reading the script, or watching the play being performed by a cast of actors. It is said that music is one of the defining elements to any production. With the right music and noises, the same exact scene can quickly turn from a happy scene, to one of complete horror. It all depends on the music that accompanies the actions being displayed. Music can also intensify the emotions or actions that we read or see in a book or movie. In The Tempest, Ariel, the mystical spirit summoned by Prospero, and his fellow spirits provide some eerie and wondrous musical sounds that play a part in making the emotion of any scene. Painting pictures with their voices and controlling the outcome of what is happening in the play are both good examples of how the spirits voices are a vital part to Shakespeare’s work. 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 him and usher him towards Miranda. If they would have had harsh voices full of contempt and anger, then Ferdinand would not have followed them. In contrast to Ferdinand hearing Ariel’s delightful melodies, Sebastian, Alonso, Antonio, and Gonzalo receive a very different message. “Alonso: What harmony is this? My good friends, hark! Gonzalo: Marvellous sweet music!
Enter Prospero above, invisible. Enter several strange Shapes, bringing in a banquet; they dance about it with gentle actions of salutation; and, inviting the King, & c. to eat, they depart” (Shakespeare Scene 3)
When the four men attempt to feast on a luxurious banquet Prospero has designed for them, claps of thunder and lightning consume the stage and noises cry...
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