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Tempest Final Scene

  • Date Submitted: 12/12/2011 07:43 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.7 
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Why is the ending of The Tempest Unsatisfactory?

The ending to The Tempest can be seen as unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons. One of the major reasons for the ending being seen as unsatisfactory is due to the half-hearted nature of the forgiveness Prospero seems to give to his brother and the other characters that have tried to betray him. The main message of the ending of this play is forgiveness and reconciliation and due to the acceptance Prospero seems to give to the other characters at the end, it causes confusion to whether or not the ending is well written. “For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother Would even infect my mouth, I do forgive Thy rankest fault, -- all of them; and require My dukedom of thee, which perforce, I know, Thou must restore.” (5.1.130-4). Although Prospero is forgiving his brother here, the sincerity of the forgiveness is low in my opinion. This is because of the manner in which he tells Antonio he is forgiven; he still causes him a “wicked sir” and uses many unpleasant words such as “infect” and “rank” during this speech, due to the negative tone of this reconciling speech, I feel that Prospero still deeply detests his brother.

During Prospero’s final epilogue he says the lines “And my ending is despair unless I be relieved by prayer”. These lines suggest that the ending can only be praised once people the audience clap. This can be supported by the lines “I must here be confined by you” which again is meta-theatrical as he is confined by the audience until they clap. This is unsatisfactory as the play does not really end due to Shakespeare’s writing; it only ends because Prospero is asking the audience to clap. Should the audience really have to be prompted to clap? In my opinion I think not, the audience should clap because they want to clap and they should know it is the end of a play, they should not have to be prompted by the main character. Throughout the years many productions of this play end before Prospero’s...


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