Monday, September 28, 2015

The Tempest and the Protestant Reformation

The Tempest is said to be centered around “reconciliation, forgiveness, and faith in future generations.” However, the actuality of forgiveness and reconciliation in the lives of the characters has been debated. In a matter of words, Ariel tells Prospero, who is unafraid to put the men through misery, that his actions are not Christlike: “if you now beheld them / Your affections would become tender.” As I researched, I found that many critics believe this exchange represents a transformation within both Prospero and society. Throughout the play motives are constantly being examined, questioned, and reconfigured. The confrontations and realizations between characters speak to the drastic changes society went through during the Protestant Reformation. The reformation brought about large-scale change, but that change began within individuals—people were given the opportunity to search within themselves for answers and to decide where they stood as new systems were put in place. Communities involved in the Protestant Reformation had to find personal reconciliation amongst the chaos, weighing their religious background with modern reality. Forgiveness for mistakes made was necessary for those who disagreed with changes or realized they were not living as they could or should have. Faith in future generations, perhaps most of all, was an integral part of the reformation, as those promoting change had to believe that the religious revolution would affect the coming era for the better; in order to evolve most effectively, faith in the outcome of the reformation had to be strong. I found it interesting that the King James Bible and The Tempest were published in the same year. This play came out at a crucial time of religious reform, when audiences expected plays to contain exciting plotlines, but also be symbolic of the present.

Mabillard, Amanda. Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Shakespeare's The Tempest.Shakespeare Online. 15 Dec. 2010. < >. 

Hamlin, Hannibal. "The Bible and The Tempest." Manifold Greatness Blog. N.p., 27 July 2011. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

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