The Tempest

Supernatural Forces in Shakespeare

In the plays of Shakespeare, readers can find several issues of human nature addressed. In Othello, Shakespeare addresses jealously and racism. In King Lear, he addresses pride and love. In Romeo and Juliet, he examines fate. In The Tempest and Hamlet in particular, he seems to deal indirectly with one significant problem. In both plays, some supernatural impetus prompts the actions of important characters and directs the plot in a specific direction. This brings the reader to question why an outside force is necessary to provoke certain action in the story. Is the force a plot device, employed by Shakespeare to develop the drama and achieve a certain end? Does the force represent a cosmic impetus that acts on us all? Or does it represent something internal, common to us all? Most importantly, what is Shakespeare saying about human nature through employment of this?

In The Tempest, Prospero's sorcery and the sprits under his control compel the stranded nobles to act according to his wishes. In Hamlet, the appearance of his father's ghost causes Hamlet's depressed indecision and eventually his fatal vengeance. Whatever Shakespeare's purpose is in using this external drive, these supernatural forces allow the...

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