The Dramatic Uses of Intoxication in Shakespeare's Play "The Tempest"

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‘The Tempest' is thought to be Shakespeare's last play, written in approximately 1611. ‘The Tempest' belongs to the Romance Genre. Generally, the following features are found in a Romance: - a trial and test, a dynastic marriage, magic and the supernatural. ‘The Tempest' includes the above features, in at least one of the three main plots. These plots are the romance between Ferdinand and Miranda; the comedy of Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo and finally, the tragedy planned by Antonio and Sebastian. All three plots, however, follow a strict structure in the form of a shipwreck, a meeting, a temptation/test, a reward/ punishment and lastly the reconciliation. In each of these plots, there is a recurrent motif, which is intoxication.…show more content…
In reply to the declaration of his feelings, Miranda offers him, her most valuable possession ‘The jewel in my dower.' In Shakespearean times, this was not a decision to make lightly and shows the extent of trust in Ferdinand despite his talking of other women. The intoxication has made her blind to any wrongs which could happen or how she could be used as well as the disappointment her father may have. Shakespeare, during lines 60 to 67 use some terms in an unusual pattern as he refers to a ‘prince' which rises in station to a ‘King' but then falls to ‘wooden slavery', ‘service' and his becoming a ‘slave.' This is unusual as in History, it has been considered as preposterous for a King to renounce his title and lower himself as the Bible indicates that Kings and Queens were God's chosen rulers and in Shakespeare's time, religion was more important than it is today. So the thought of a ‘king' lowering himself to such labours represents the control the intoxication has over even a King's protection of his reputation. Prospero realises during this scene that the result of the couples declarations could be unpleasant and declares that ‘Heaven rain grace/ On that which breeds ‘em!' for Prospero's sights of a

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