The use of supernatural IN "TheTempest" in continuation...
William Shakespeare hammers home the value of magic,music and submission through the use of a witch on an enchanted island.
The use of Supernatural in "The Tempest"
brothers:"Not a hair perished".The supernatural in "The Tempest" have been used to remove the wrong-doings on the part of human beings.
There is a great difference in the use of supernatural in "The Tempest" and in all his other plays.In other plays the supernatural powers act on their own and independently -they are not subject to any potent human will.These supernatural sometimes meddle in human affairs and influence the human destiny.For example, in Macbeth ,the supernatural powers are the very principle of evil and tempt man to crime and to his doom.In "The Tempest"on the other hand,the supernatural powers are under the control of human will.As we find Ariel doing all the bidding of Prospero who by means of his music art controls and dictates Ariel .Ariel is the spirit of air :but he is equally at home in the sea and fire.Prospero has command over spirits-the spirit of earth,of fire and water.But these spirits are not directly employed by Prospero.He has rather delegated some of his powers to Ariel .The spirit of earth or goblins are employed,for example to torture Caliban into submission.This is the main difference between the supernatural elements in "The Tempest" and in all Shakespeare's other plays.
Ariel invites comparison with Puck.Puck is a mad-cap spirit in "A Mid Summer Night's Dream".He dances at the beck and call of a fairy king,Oberon.Ariel creates disorder to create order in human world by the orders of Prospero.Here lies the difference between Puck and Ariel.Ariel is controlled by a human king ,Prospero,whereas Puck is controlled by a fairy king ,Oberon. Ariel behaves as a human agency.He creates disorder in order to create order in the human world.But Puck creates disorder for the sake of fun and laughter .He has got nothing to do with order in human world.That is why ,he laughs at those whom he misleads :
"Lord, what fools these mortal be !" Whereas Ariel pities those whom he tortures.Ariel narrates the condition of the enemy of Prospero and says :"your affections would become tender", at their own miserable condition .Besides he does not want to carry out the earthly and gross orders of Sycorax .That is why Prospero says "For tho wast a spirit too delicate
To act her earthly and abhorred commands,
Refusing her grand jests ,she did confine thee
.........................into a cloven pine.''
This shows that Ariel is kinder and better than the most of the human beings.Gonzalo says about the spirits in The Tempest :"Their manners are more gentle- kind than of our human generation."
The supernatural elements are always introduced by Shakespeare to serve some dramatic purpose.In The Tempest , it is the very basis of the structure of the play. The action of the play stands or falls with it .The supernatural machinery is the integral part of The Tempest.All that happens in the play ,is brought about by magic and the supernatural agency.We notice in the play how Ariel brings about the storm ,how he sinks the ship of Alonso , how he scatters Alonso's friends and relatives ,how he punishes them and tortures them almost to madness by producing unearthly sounds in the air in order to rob Alonso ,Sebastian,Antonio and others of their wits because these people have done a great injustice to Prospero .Ariel is used by Prospero also as an agent of reconciliation and unification of all human and non-human elements so that at the end of the play ,there is forgiveness ,restoration,peace and bliss.It is the supernatural agency that brings together again all the people of Alonso by making them suffer liberty and feel repentant at heart. It is the supernatural agency that brings about the union between Ferdinand and Miranda and helps the restoration of Miranda to her lost position as the princess of Milan.It is, therefore,the supernatural agency alone that opens ,moves and concludes the motive and action of the play.In no other plays of Shakespeare we can have the supernatural playing such an important dramatic role as in The Tempest.
The most significant feature of the supernatural in TheTempest -is the strange combination of the supernatural and the natural.It has been rightly been observed that in TheTempest Shakespeare has given a local habitation and a name to airy nothings.To put it in the phraseology of the author of Lyrical Ballads,Shakespeare has put a flood of familiarity on the supernatural things in the light that never was on sea or land.
A fundamental task of the artist who uses the supernatural ,is to give reality to his story.Shakespeare does it nicely by removing its scene to a far off from busy town life.The scene is a desert island ,impressing itself at first as uninhabitable .The scene of the action makes presence of the supernatural credible and convincing.The Tempest sounds to be a perfect realistic play.Shakespeare has been able to maintain the illusion of reality throughout the play.It is not a mean achievement.
But Shakespeare does not relish the use of supernatural,that is why, he wants to shake them off as soon as the work is done.
"I will break my staff
I will drown my book."
Shakespeare appealed to the spectators for forgiveness.He considers the delight in supernatural as an unnatural delight on the part of a dramatist.