Sample Essay on:
The Conflict of Opposites in William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”

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Essay / Research Paper Abstract

A 5 page paper which examines two of the play’s oppositions, barbarism versus civilization and the greedy lust for power versus the benevolent desire for justice. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

Page Count:

5 pages (~225 words per page)

File: TG15_TGtemopp.rtf

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Unformatted sample text from the term paper:

Island, and was intended to be a whimsical showcase of fairies and magic. However, the work began to take on an insightful realism that reveals a mature Bard at the twilight of his career. As its title implies, the play considers how while the cosmos thrives in the orderly conditions of balance, it is often fraught with oppositions that result in disorderly imbalance. Life then becomes a matter of restoring the stability that is shaken when "stormy" oppositions collide. Andrew C. Bradley wrote in his classic critique, Shakespearean Tragedy, that using oppositions reinforced the "notion of the transitoriness of things, side by side" (301). Shakespeare perceptively employed these oppositions to denote how, in this struggle for one concepts attempted dominance over another, life can change without warning fuel. Furthermore, such oppositions fueled the passions of his characters and also generated the plot conflict, which needed to be directed toward an orderly conclusion. The innovative play opens with a group of people who have been marooned on a remote island for twelve years. There is Prospero, the one-time Duke of Milan, and now practitioner of "white" magic; his innocent daughter, Miranda; his faithful fairy, Ariel; and his loyal Councilor (advisor), Gonzalo. But also living there is a lifelong native, Caliban. He represents the most primitive barbarism, is depicted as a monstrously deformed savage, frequently described by the more cultured island dwellers as a "devil." Prospero, whose name not coincidentally means "to prosper," and his crew represent the Western civilization that regarded itself as superior to the rest of the world. Armed with Christianity (or in Prosperos case, magical spells and potions), missionaries traveled to primitive locales in hopes of civilizing the tribal peoples. ...

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