The Tempest

Love and Magic Intertwined

In William Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest, the playwright intertwines love and magic, creating one of play's the major themes. Prospero, the protagonist, uses magic to plan the events of this comedy. The first act of magic is the tempest and the subsequent shipwreck in Act I, scene i. The victims wash up on the shore of Prospero and Miranda's island. Of the survivors, Ferdinand, Prince of Naples, wanders aimlessly around the island by himself until Ariel, a magical spirit, guides him to Miranda. As planned, they fall in love at first sight; from that point on their relationship is seemingly perfect. However, the inexperience of Miranda combined with Ferdinand's fragile state of mind, raises questions about their infatuation. The audience can assume one of two things: the first, that their love is real, or the second, that their love is simply the result of Prospero's magic. Based on evidence in the script, one can conclude that the love between Ferdinand and Miranda is not an act of fate, but rather the result of Prospero's magic.

From the beginning of Ferdinand and Miranda's relationship, all aspects of their love are too perfect. Ariel's music, "with its sweet air" (I.ii.448),...

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