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Themes, Symbols, and Motifs in The Tempest

Themes, Symbols, and Motifs in The Tempest

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The Tempest Themes | Tempest Shakespeare

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  • The storm itself is a catalyst for this plan to unfold. It allows Alonso (thinking his son was dead) to realize he needs to make amends for his deeds, and it reveals the treacherous natures of Antonio, Sebastian, and Caliban. It is a method of revenge, but it ultimately leads to the redemption of all of the characters.
  • Ariel is a tool for Prospero to use to complete his work, but he also represents the ultimate freedom that Prospero hopes to have once his plan has been fully executed. Ariel is crucial to the story, manipulating characters with his music. He also warns Prospero of danger. Without Ariel, Prospero’s plan would never have succeeded.
  • When Stephano and Trinculo stumble upon Caliban hiding underneath his cloak, they mistake him for a fish-like monster, and continue to call him “Monster” throughout the play. Stephano and Trinculo turn into monsters themselves as they plot to kill Prospero and marry his daughter. Love of power also turned Antonio into a monster against his brother.
  • A significant symbolic moment occurs when Alonso wails in grief that he wishes their children were alive and King and Queen of Naples, Prospero pulls back a curtain, revealing Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess: the game in which the sole purpose is to capture the king. Prospero has captured the King of Naples at last, restoring himself and his daughter to their rightful places.
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