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Imaginative Journeys: The Tempest Shakespeare Essay

1543 words - 7 pages

Imaginative Journeys Essay

An imaginative journey is a voyage of discovery, which takes when one is transported from a physical to a metaphysical via power of imagination. Shakespeare's The Tempest is set on a fictitious, unnamed island, ten leagues beyond civilization, where all sense of torment, trouble, wonder and imagination is possible. Yen Martel's novel Life of Pi, The Board Of Studies excerpt The Town Where Time Stands Still by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim and the Triptych Painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch use visual and written language so evocative that responders are led through an intricate process of imagination constructed by the composer showing that ...view middle of the document...

The comparison of Antonio with ivy implies that he strangled Prospero like a parasite.

The use of two demonic allusions powerfully depicts the emotions harboured by Prospero towards Caliban. The constant reference to him a “poisonous slave” and as “child of Sycorax and the devil” creates a callous overtone, which degrades and debases the savage character. This forms a basis from which Shakespeare depicts the metamorphosis of Prospero from a scathing and embittered man to a kind-hearted, absolving father. There is a metaphorical transition, which is captured in the image of a “sea change” in Ariel's song. The use of soliloquy empowers the audience to see deep into the thoughts of the once austere and irritable Prospero. His use of religious allusions such as the “wiser action is in virtue than in vengeance”, which is emphasized by alliteration is in stark contrast to the demonic language previously used. Thus it is only through imagination that both Caliban and Prospero are able to acquire the necessary knowledge to transform themselves. Ultimately therefore, they recognise that the imagination is more important than knowledge.

Similarly, in Life of Pi, Pi's imaginative journey caused him to reassess his preconceived attitudes. First person reflection reveal how this optimistic assertion “take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it” is eventually 'replaced by his exasperated comment “My suffering does matter”, where present determinate tense effectively personalizes his transition, comparable to Prospero's metamorphosis in The Tempest. In an allusion to Postmodernism, Pi causes responders to imagine that “the world just isn't what it is ... it is how we understand it, no?”, where his rhetorical question “isn't just looking upon the world already something of an invention?” summarizes his subjectivism regarding personal and worldly issues. This relativism is also seen in The Tempest as contrasting characterizations of Gonzalo, Antonio and Sebastian render conflicting descriptions of the island, thus reaffirming the power of the imagination to shape ones knowledge.

In The Tempest, realms, which are beyond the literal world, are evoked to create a state of heightened awareness. Thus the imagination again takes priority over knowledge. The sea voyage is strongly symbolic of the journey whilst the shipwreck denotes the perils of human life. The opening stage direction engages responders with “a tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning”, symbolic of a disruption in the natural order. Throughout the play, Shakespeare juxtaposes supernatural events with natural events, thereby portraying journeys as phenomena, which are influenced by an array of factors beyond human control. The breakdown of naturalism is further developed through the boatswain's abrupt outburst at the nobles; “To cabin. Silence! Trouble us not!” Contextually, the harsh tone of this dialogue is significant as Elizabethan society was based on a rigid social...

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