Techniques Tempest

Tempest - #

Techniques in The Tempest #

The Tempest observes the Aristotelian code of unity of time and place. The action takes place on one island and within a time frame of the play; from about 2:00 pm to 5:00pm.

A tempest is generally a storm on the water. Storms are equated with disruption of order, both in nature and the body politic. Storms presage disorder. We see them in many plays, King Lear - the heath scene, Julius Caesar, the night before he died, Macbeth, the night Duncan is murdered…

Stage Props #

Shakespeare’s stage props were primitive and minimalistic, forcing him to rely on word pictures or images to assist the audience to visualise his scenes. As such his stage is a hotter medium than television or film which does almost everything for its audience. Find examples of how Shakespeare conjures visual features through the power of evocative and pictorial language.

Analogy of the ship of State: #

Shakespeare generally uses the garden as an analogy of good governance, but here resorts to the inverted hierachy on a ship, where on deck the seamen rule and the King and his advisors are under their command.

ACT 1 Scene 1

A tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard.

Enter a Shipmaster and a Boatswain.

MASTER Boatswain!

BOATSWAIN Here, master. What cheer?

MASTER Good, speak to th’ mariners. Fall to ’t yarely,
or we run ourselves aground. Bestir, bestir!
He exits.

Enter Mariners.

BOATSWAIN Heigh, my hearts! Cheerly, cheerly, my
hearts! Yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to th’
Master’s whistle.—Blow till thou burst thy wind, if
room enough!

Enter Alonso, (King of Naples) Sebastian, Antonio, (brother of Prospero) Ferdinand, (son of King, Prince) Gonzalo, and others.

ALONSO Good boatswain, have care. Where’s the Master?
Play the men.

BOATSWAIN I pray now, keep below.

ANTONIO Where is the Master, boatswain?

BOATSWAIN Do you not hear him? You mar our labor.
Keep your cabins. You do assist the storm.

GONZALO Nay, good, be patient.

BOATSWAIN When the sea is. Hence! What cares these
roarers for the name of king? To cabin! Silence!
Trouble us not.

GONZALO Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard.

BOATSWAIN None that I more love than myself. You are
a councillor; if you can command these elements
to silence, and work the peace of the present, we
will not hand a rope more. Use your authority. If
you cannot, give thanks you have lived so long, and
make yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance
of the hour, if it so hap.—Cheerly, good
hearts!—Out of our way, I say!
He exits.

GONZALO I have great comfort from this fellow. Methinks
he hath no drowning mark upon him. His
complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast, good
Fate, to his hanging. Make the rope of his destiny
our cable, for our own doth little advantage. If he be
not born to be hanged, our case is miserable.

He exits ⌜with Alonso, Sebastian, and the other courtiers.⌝

Later Gonzalo gives us his views on what a good leader should be like:


I’ th’ commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things, for no kind of traffic
Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
And use of service, none; contract, succession,
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
No occupation; all men idle, all,
And women too, but innocent and pure;
No sovereignty—