biblical themes in shakespeares the tempest Essay

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Biblical Themes in Shakespeare’s The Tempest      Shakespeare is one of the most prolific and admired writers who ever lived. He certainly knew his craft and was familiar with all of the literature available at the time. One of the greatest books ever written was of course the bible. Written over the course of more than a thousand years it is a miracle in itself that the book exists. Shakespeare knew his bible, and his work often incorporated and examined biblical themes. Shakespeare’s last completed work was The Tempest, and it is as complex and deeply moving as any of his works. Readers of the play respond on a much deeper level than the literal. In and of itself it is actually a very simple tale, it is the…show more content…
As both works move toward concerns of procreation, their creator use “qualifying tests” to determine “the elected” who will be given conditional rewards (1.). At the beginning of Genesis, God creates the world by dividing it into a system of doubles, the sun and the moon, light and dark, the land and the sea and male and female. It is not long into the story that good and evil, positive and negative and lesser and greater enter the world. The system of doubles or opposites is clearly evident in Shakespeare’s work. The characters of Caliban and Ariel are opposites; both are representative of the master-servant dynamic, which is at the heart of the bible. While both Caliban and Ariel are slaves, their temperament and treatment are opposite. While Ariel is “an airy spirit,” Caliban is of the earth. Ariel serves much more willingly and completely than does Caliban, causing each to achieve a different sort of dignity. God is Master of all and all humans are to be his servants, willing servants if they are to desire “selection” as “good” and therefore allowed to participate in the covenant, which is a place by His side in heaven. Just as the Bible explores the social dynamics of power relationships throughout, so does The Tempest. Almost every scene of the play, every interaction, with the exception of the scenes between Miranda and
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