The Tempest

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The epilogue of Shakespeare's The Tempest, while separate from the body of work preceding it due to the nature of an epilogue, it is an integral part of the work. It provides resolution to an otherwise unresolved piece, and the piece actually prepares for the epilogue by mirroring it throughout the play.

Throughout the play, themes of power and magic develop, complementing each other so that ultimately, the nature of Prospero's power can be either revered, or reduced to smoke and mirrors. Prospero's power to administer pain gives him control over Ariel and Caliban. However, with many of the other characters, control is gained by illusions - sometimes pleasant, and sometimes upsetting. Prospero makes Ferdinand follows Ariel's music's "sweet air," but he confounds Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo by adding a faceless voice, which disturbs them, and makes them quarrel. Prospero doesn't actually make anyone do anything; he appeals to their senses in either a positive or negative way, and their response to these sensations brings about an action Prospero required. However, by the play's end, it is never resolved whether Prospero had any real power, or was simply manipulative enough to get what he...

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