The Tempest is often regarded, and rightly so, as Shakespeare’s last great play. Many scholars argue that Prospero is an analogue for Shakespeare himself, noting the similarities between Prospero’s illusory magic and Shakespeare’s poetic genius. The themes of imagination, illusion, and, indeed, theatre itself play an integral role. The line that is perhaps most often cited as evidence for this argument is Prospero’s speech directly after he breaks up the wedding masque in which he refers to “the great globe itself” (IV.i.153). There is a danger, however, in appealing to the author’s biography or treating the biography as paramount, namely that the art work loses its autonomy. Barbara Tovey, while not adopting this interpretation per se, posits a species of this argument. She reads The Tempest as Shakespeare’s direct response to, and defense of, Plato’s conception of imitative poetry found in The Republic. Biographical criticism, however valuable it may be, will not be our main concern; rather, we will shift the focus from Shakespeare’s biography to the text of The Republic.
Is Prospero Just? Platonic Virtue in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Undergraduate Review, 5, 104-107.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/undergrad_rev/vol5/iss1/21
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