The Tempest Essay

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Source: "Ariel and the Magic of Prospero in The Tempest," in Susquehanna University Studies, 1978, pp. 229-37.

[In the following essay, Davidson explores the nature of the spirit Ariel and the tensions that this character represents . He maintains that Ariel is not purely a benevolent creature, and that he is more driven by the promise of freedom and by Prospero's threats of punishment than by any devotion to his master. Davidson also notes that Prospero's magic as a whole, in contrast to the contentions of earlier critics such as Prances Yates, is not simply good or white magic, but contains elements of so-called black magic, drawn from vindictiveness and selfishness as much as it is from the desire for human redemption.]

Shakespeare's The Tempest is a play that is dominated by the figure of the magus, who appears in the character of Prospero. In the early seventeenth century when...

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This section contains 3,713 words
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