The Tempest by William Shakespeare

1858 WordsJul 13, 20188 Pages
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest refines his portrayal of nature from the earlier play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, nature is shown to be mysterious presence that blurs the lines between reality and illusion; it is a magical force that is unreachable and incomprehensible for human beings. A Midsummer Night’s Dream gives nature a mischievous, playful, dreamlike feel because in this play nature interferes for the sake of love. The Tempest breaks down the barrier that divides human society and the natural world, a divide that is present in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, because nature’s presence and effects become more noticeable and it becomes a power that is within the reach of humans. In The Tempest nature isn’t…show more content…
By having two separate settings contrast one another, Shakespeare sets a distinct barrier that separates nature from people. Hermia and Lysander escape to the forest in order to be able to be together when they weren’t allowed to do so in Athens. The woods are free of social laws and embody a freedom not present in human society. The contrasting nature between Athens and the woods shows that these differences set apart the natural world and human world. The woods serve as an escape not only from the law but also from reality because nature ends up dissolving the boundaries that separate reality and illusion. While in the forest, Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius become entangled in confusion due the effects of the love potion that has been placed on Lysander and Demetrius. Because of the love juice, men end up falling in love with Helena, which causes the question to arise of whether true love exists if it can easily be altered. The love that is experienced by Lysander, Demetrius, and Titania, while under the effects of the love potion, causes their perceptions of what is reality and illusion to become entangled due to the fact that they cannot distinguish between what they perceive and what they truthfully feel. As the title of the play implies, nature is like a dream because of its ability to mix and confuse one’s sense of reality and illusion; the Athenian couples’ doubts on whether they were asleep or awake show that with Demetrius’ questioning, “Are you

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