The Tempest Essay

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Source: "Magic in the Last Plays: The Tempest," in Shakespeare's Last Plays: A New Approach, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975, pp. 85-106.

[In the following excerpt from a lecture originally delivered in 1974, Yates examines the nature of Prospero's magic in The Tempest by relating it to the writings of Henry Cornelius Agrippa, a Renaissance expert on the subject. She calls the magic "intellectual and virtuous, " the kind that Agrippa described in his De occulta philosophia. According to Yates, Prospero's intentions with his magical powers are good and aimed at the moral reform of the individual in society. In addition, she hints at Prospero's role in foreshadowing the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century by noting his similarities to John Dee, an eminent mathematician and a contemporary of Shakespeare.]

To treat of magic, or the magical atmosphere, in Shakespeare one ought to include all the plays, for such an atmosphere...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 3,716 words
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The Tempest from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.