The Tempest Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the metaphorical significance of the storm at sea in the exposition of the play?

The storm sets the play's action into motion and mirrors the metaphorical "tempest" that Prospero is conjuring. The ship and crew are literally being tossed around by the storm, but the storm also signifies the beginning of mounting conflict and an upheaval of the natural order. Prospero conjures the storm, because he has been removed from his natural order as Duke of Milan. He needs to stir things to restore the natural order.

2. During the storm, what can the audience already infer about Gonzalo's character and why?

While Antonio and the others blame the Boatswain for losing control of the ship and his crew, Gonzalo tells them to trust him. He attempts to calm everyone down during the tumultuous scene, signifying that he has a level-headed attitude, whereas the others are more tempestuous.

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