'The choice of an island setting for 'The Tempest' is crucial to the plays meaning and dramatic effect.' Discuss your view of the play in light of this comment. 'The Tempest' William Shakespeare

Essay by ewar999 November 2006

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Shakespeare's decision to use the island as the setting for the play allows him to explore and act ideas out better than in any other setting. The island destroys all concepts of hierarchy the characters may once have had and replaces it with another one.

The layout of the island allows Prospero to separate his 'prisoners' out and keep control over them. Apart from Ariel none of the characters are on the island by choice and the lack of a definite location enforces the feelings of mystery and magic the audience feels. The audience may also feel slightly confused as will the Royal party. The lack of a location also allows Shakespeare to utilise the audiences' fear and curiosity of magic and the idea of an arcadia society.

There are many relationships on the island which are very complex, that of Prospero and Caliban and Prospero and Ariel, ruler and rules.

The way in which Miranda has been raised and Prospero's behaviour now there are others in the island enable Shakespeare to explore the parent and child relationship.

The relationship between Miranda and Caliban is extremely obvious in such an apparent Utopia, one of nature versus nurture. This isolation also allows Shakespeare to explore various trains of thought, which would now be considered racist but at the time entirely normal, through Caliban. He is a native on an island which has been taken over by someone from the West, Prospero, and the native, Caliban, is subjected to extremely harsh and unfair treatment. This is representative of the ongoing colonisation happening at the time Shakespeare was writing.

The isolation of the island demonstrates the multi-faceted nature of humans in particular Caliban and the dramatic way his tone of voice changes from talking about the island to cursing Prospero:...