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The Tempest

Uploaded by kiki0013 on Mar 30, 2000

The importance of the character, language and dramatic significance of Antonio
On June 2, 1609, five hundred colonists set out in nine ships from Plymouth in association with the imperial Virginia Company. It was the aim of this expedition to fortify John Smith's colony in Virginia. While eight of the party's vessels securely arrived at Jamestown, the flagship, called the “Sea Adventure” , was conspicuously absent. This ship --which carried the fleet's most valuable cargo, the admiral Sir John Somers and the future governor of Virginia Sir George Somers --was separated from the other eight during a fierce storm off the coast of Bermuda, the legendary Isle of Devils, dreaded by superstitious sixteenth-century sailors. William Strachey describes the tempest which precipitated the ship's "wracke" in a letter dated July 15, 1610: "a dreadfull storme and hideous began to blow from out the North-east, which swelling, and roaring as it were by fits, some houres with more violence than others, at length did beate all light from heaven; which like an hell of darkenesse turned blacke upon us, so much the more fuller of horror." The “Sea Adventure” was rebuilt on the island, which was not as menacing as the storm itself, and nearly a year later the ship rejoined the fleet in Virginia. By many, this was deemed a miracle. Some believe it was this shipwreck that prompted Shakespeare to write this political, yet comic play which involves usurpation, mockery, love, reconciliation and forgiveness. It all starts with Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, being banished by his brother, Antonio, who illegally usurps the throne. Basically, the first thing Antonio does in scene I is curse the boatswain: “Hang, cur, hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker, we are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.” This already suggests that Antonio is not the nicest of dukes. He is a very authoritative man, he need not do anything, he lets people do it for him. As the ship splits, he still curses the boatswain and does not get involved with the desperate attempts of the mariners to steady the ship. When they find themselves stranded on the remote island, all except Antonio and Sebastian see that which is good around them, Gonzalo remarks how their clothes are surprisingly clean. Antonio and Sebastian mock Gonzalo and the others for seeing good where they only sees rottenness and corruption. Their cynicism clearly show they do not agree,...

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Uploaded by:   kiki0013

Date:   03/30/2000

Category:   Shakespeare

Length:   4 pages (986 words)

Views:   1635

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