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The Tempest

According to Magill, a majority of scholars see ShakespeareÆs ôThe Tempestö as ShakespeareÆs ôfarewell to the stage,ö one that encompasses his farewell as well as the playwrightÆs views on life (Tempest 1). Indeed, as one scholar maintains, ôProsperoÆs speech beginning æOur revels now are endedàÆ seems to sum up both the playÆs action and the playwrightÆs estimate of human lifeö (Tempest 1). This analysis will examine ôThe Tempestö as ShakespeareÆs farewell to the stage, including evidence from the text as well as literary criticism that shows while the play is not the playwrightÆs final work it is strewn with references to ôretirement.ö

In Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Harold Bloom (695) maintains that ShakespeareÆs retirement was ôstaggeredö and ôuneasy,ö and that the playwright wrote nothing during the final three years of his life, ôthe rest was silence.ö We see in ôThe Tempestö that the concept of silence is a pervasive one, including ProsperoÆs ôsilencingö of both Ariel and Caliban. Shakespeare, the master of literacy and language, posits these characteristics in the character of Prospero. Through his books, language, and imposition of this learning and language on others, Prospero often silences others. In the play, Prospero warns Ariel that if he ômurmurÆstö another word of discontent, Prospero will ôrend an oak / And peg in his knotty entrails, till / Thou has howlÆd away twelve wintersö (Shakespeare I.ii). As Hansberger (137) notes, Shakespeare ôsilence Ariel completelyàin effect, Prospero threatens Ariel with the same fate he has imposed on Calibanùilliteracy, a lack of language.ö This could very well imply that Shakespeare is also about to impose silence on himself, in terms of both his artistic output and the theater via his farewell.

The dissolution of creativity, the end of fabricating characters and settings, and the emptiness of the Globe Theater ...

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The Tempest. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:22, June 26, 2019, from