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The Tempest: Allegorical to the Bible

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 12:23 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 61.4 
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The Tempest is not a pure fantasy tale, but a purposeful allegory.   The characters in the play are all representative of characters found in the bible.   The first, and perhaps most persuasive, arguement would be Prospero symbolizing God.   Prospero is seen to be a representative of God for several reasons.


First, he is obviously in control of the actions and has an omnipotent quality.   This has been demonstrated by several scenes throughout the play.   Consider the power that Prospero possesses, as shown in the Epilogue at the closing of the play:


I have bedimmed


The mooontide sun, called forth the mutinous winds,


And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault


Set roaring war. . . . The strong-based promontory


Have I made shake, and by the spurs plucked up


The pine and cedar.   Graves, at my command,


Have waked their sleepers, oped and let them forth


By my so potent art (V. i. 41-4, 46-50).




These are obviously superhuman works.   In fact, Prospero claims quite definitely that he possesses the power of mighty Zeus himself, for not only does he say that he can make lightning, but he declares that he has actually used the god's own thunderbolt (Still 6):


To the dread rattling thunder


Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak


With his own bolt.




Having already established that Prospero is the possessor of superhuman power, why would Shakespeare include this information except solely for alligorical purposes (Still 7)?   This information serves no purpose except to establish Prospero as a god.


Prospero is also seen in the play performing several roles that Christianity traditionally assign to God: that of the Omnipotent Judge and the Savior of Man.   Prospero is revealed to be the Omnipotent Judge through a speech given by Ariel (Still 7):




. . . . I and my fellows


Are ministers of Fate. . . .


The powers,...

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