Bringing It All Together

The Epilogue of the Tempest by William Shakespeare is an excellent -- if
not the best -- example of Shakespeare\'s brilliance. In 20 lines
Shakespeare is able to write an excellent ending to his play, while speaking
through his characters about Shakespeare\'s own life and career. Even
more amazingly, he seemlessly ties the two together.
In the context of the story Prospero\'s monologue makes perfect sense. He
has lost his magical power, so his "charms are o\'erthrown, and what
strength [Prospero] have\'s [his] own, which is most faint." He is now
"confined" on the Island, for his other choice would be to go to Naples and
reclaim his dukedom, but he doesn\'t want to do that because he has already
"pardoned the deceiver" who took his position many years ago. Prospero
then says something a little strange, but it makes sense in the context of
the story, he ask us to "release [him] from [his] bands with the help of
your good hands." In other words, clap so that the sails of the boats his
friends are riding in will be safely returned and Prospero can be "relieved
by prayer" of the audience.
All of what Prospero has said is very nice cute, but the most interesting
part of this monologue is what Shakespeare himself is saying. "Now that
my charms are all o\'erthrown, and what strength I have\'s mine own"
means, now my plays are over, and it\'s no longer my characters speaking.
The "Island" or stage Shakespeare is on is now "bare" and it is time for
"you" the audience to release Shakespeare and his actors from this play
with the "help of [y]our good hands." Shakespeare was not only being
released for the performance of the play, he was being release from his
career as a playwright. But there are more reasons to clap besides the
obvious reason that the play is over, Shakespeare could not allow his final
play to be bad, his project "was to please." He reiterates this point by
saying "and my ending is despair unless I be relieved by prayer", or the
clapping of the audience and it frees "all faults" and allows Shakespeare to
indulge the clapping and joy of the audience.
Finally, after we seperate the two different perspectives, we can step
back and see how Shakespeare magically works them together. The first
such pun is on the word "faint", in the third line. Prospero uses faint to
describe his strength, but Shakespeare makes it a pun on the pun he is
making! Let me explain, faint means light (amoung other things), which
means light hearted, or fun. As if you thought this wasn\'t confusing enough
already, you could put a pun on the pun on the pun! Again, let me explain,
faint can also mean hard to see, like the pun on the pun! That might be
pushing it a little, though. The thing about Shakespeare is anything is
possible. Another, less obvious but more significant double meaning is on
the word "please" on line 13. Prospero is literally saying his goal was to
make the people on the Island happy, Shakespeare is saying his goal was to
please his audience. Shakespeare was without a doubt is one of the greatest
authors of all time, this Epilogue clearly shows us that.

>>>>>this paper is not exactly polished, but there is A LOT of good interpretation, A quality, even at the college level<<<<<

Category: English