Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Figment of Imagination

Did anyone feel like The Tempest ended too quickly?

I think I would have liked to actually see Ferdinand and Miranda get married, or Ariel be freed, or the comeuppance of Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo, or Prospero reinstated as Duke of Milan. But Shakespeare leaves the play open-ended.

Of course, I thought of Act V, Scene II of The Winters Tale, when Shakespeare portrays the cathartic family reunion with a conversation among witnesses, instead of the actual reunion. When I blogged about it, I thought maybe the purpose was to show off Shakespeare's descriptive writing skills, and let the audience imagine what that reunion must have been like.

Is that what Shakespeare is doing here with The Tempest? I think so, but there might be another element to it. I think it plays into the mystique and fantasy of Prospero's island. The whole play takes place on the island, and magic and supernatural powers are in every scene. It makes the whole play seem like a dream sequence.

What if it's all a dream, and Prospero wakes up and he's still on the island and still not the Duke of Milan?


  1. That would be a clever ending. Referring to earlier in your post, I feel like Shakespeare implements reporting to allow the audience to implement their imagination. It seems more can be done with a report. That is my take on it from your post and our class discussion 3 weeks ago.

  2. I'm glad that entertainment doesn't do that all the time. If books, movies, TV shows and songs only "told" instead of "showed," I don't think it would be entertainment anymore. I appreciate entertainment that makes me think, but I also want to see what someone else thinks about something. I think that's one of the values of entertainment.