The Tempest Essay

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Commentary on Ariel has tended to speculate about his nature and to suggest possible sources for his original and unique characterization. In 1811 August Wilhelm Schlegel was the first to identify Ariel with the element of air, contrasting him with Caliban, who is linked with the lower element of earth. And, while Schlegel was careful not to reduce Ariel or any other characters in the play to simple allegory, symbolic studies of this creature have abounded in modern criticism. John Ruskin looked at the political and social aspects of Ariel's character in 1862, maintaining that the spirit's freely-rendered labor is the source of his contentment and eventual freedom. E. K. Chambers continues the allegorical tradition in the twentieth century, locating Ariel as "the spirit of poetry" in his interpretation of the play. Likewise, Ariel is sometimes seen as a personification 'of human consciousness. His continual pleading with Prospero for his...

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This section contains 3,266 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Tempest Study Guide
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Shakespeare for Students
The Tempest from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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