Magic, Music and Sound Effects in "The Tempest" And Their Contribution In The Success Of The Play

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare is regarded as one of the best authors in the world. Over the years, his comedies, tragedies, histories, and sonnets enjoyed continuous popularity. In just about every genre associated with writing or performance, his pieces of work have been read, adapted, rewritten or staged. The plays by Shakespeare express a deep comprehension of the human actions, shown by depictions of a wide range of characters. His usage of romantic, historic and tragic instruments for producing an artistic influence is regarded as a remarkable accomplishment, and he derives it from a variety of verbal gestures and actions. The language he uses in his plays is among the major achievements in world literature, which is reflecting the highest degree of human emotion in people, society and towards common circumstances. Among his various plays, scholars commonly believe that “The Tempest,” is the last complete play William Shakespeare wrote on his own around 1611.  We can see some themes such as magic, betrayal, love and forgiveness, which are conveyed to the audience by the plot, characters, music and the atmosphere. As David Lindley (2002) emphasised, “The Tempest” is highlighted by some of the most creative and experimental theatrical effects of Shakespeare. It must have presented an appealing dramatic display since its first recorded public appearance on “Hallomas nyght,” 1 November 1611, at the indoor Blackfriars Theatre in London. As Lindley remarks, “In its dramatic shaping, and in its deployment of music and spectacle in particular, The Tempest breaks new Shakespearean ground” as a possible cause why it was placed at the head of the first folio of Shakespeare’s plays in 1623. In Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, music is a crucial feature of the enchantments used by Prospero and Ariel while granting it both a mystical and a pleasing component. The audience is also invited to join the songs of the spirits (as well as dances). As Lindley (1999) mentions, “The Tempest” is an especially valuable play to investigate the contribution that music can bring to the transformation of text from page to stage. It is Shakespeare’s most musical play, and academics have spent several years exploring the importance of the contribution that music brings to the thematic preoccupations of the play, whether as a representation of unity and harmony or as a component of the deceptive magic arts of Prospero. However, in recent reviews of the play, as stage music, there is little attention to it.  So, this paper suggests identifying the role of magic, music, songs and sound effects that are used by Prospero and Ariel as essential elements throughout the play.

Act One, Scene One

A tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard…

In Act One, Scene One, the play opens dramatically with the sound of a storm. Alonso; The King of Naples, Sebastian; the King’s brother and Anthonio; Prospero’s brother, Ferdinand; the King’s son, Gonzalo; an honest old Councillor and the crew are on a ship in the middle of the wild sea. They struggle with the storm. There are loud sounds like the roaring sea and the sound of the storm. The effect of the sounds and the accompanying storm cause terror. However, nature doesn’t respect the nobility. The rough sea digests their ship, and this is signalled at the end of Act 1, Scene 1 at the stage directions saying “a confused noise within“. “This noise itself, however, consists partly of human cries – ‘Mercy on us!‘ – ‘We split, we split!‘ – ‘Farewell, my wife and children!‘ – ‘Farewell, brother!‘ – ‘We split! We split! We split!‘ – so that the hollowing of the storm is barely distinguishable from the “howling” of the terrified passengers, which seems “louder than the weather” itself.” (Neill, 2008, p.47) Moreover, the cause of this storm is revealed in the following parts of the play, and we learn that Ariel; a spirit, produces these terrifying sounds and the storm as Prospero orders. In today’s technology, a lot of visual and sound effects can be created easily. But according to Shakespeare’s Globe, in Shakespeare’s time, “many special effects needed special ingredients.” As those ingredients were too expensive, it was impossible to use them regularly. Beating drums offstage or tossing a cannonball around the floor above the stage was the simplest way to create the noise of thunder. Some organisations used a thunder machine, which was a balanced wooden box like a see-saw. From one end to the other, a cannonball could be rolled to create a thundering noise. The storms, too, wanted lightning. By throwing a powder made from resin into a candle flame, lightning flashes were created. It was causing a flash while it was lit up. The organisation companies could generate lightning bolts, too. The equipment for this was called a swivel. From the roof to the floor of the stage, they connected a cable. They attached the wire to a firecracker and lit it to create the desired result. From the top of the wire, the firecracker was fired to the floor, creating sparks all the way. At another source, Gwilym JONES states that since indoor fireworks were dangerous and they smelled terrible, they were not used much. However, it was critical for the sound of a moving cannonball used for thunder effect to be believable and precise. In contrast, the lightning effect was a visual luxury at that time. (p. 129)

Act One, Scene Two

At the beginning of Act 1, Scene 2, we can see how Miranda; Prospero’s daughter mentions the inflictions of the sounds in the first scene;

“If by your Art (my dearest father) you have put the wild waters in roar allay them

The sky it seems would pour down stinking pitch,

But that the sea, mounting to th’ welkin’s cheek,

Dashes the fire out.” (“The Tempest”,p.25)

By Miranda’s words, the severity of the sounds can be understood. On the other hand, until Miranda talks about her father’s “art“, the majority of the readers might think the scene of the storm is real, not artificially ordered by Prospero. The storm Prospero orders to be produced by Ariel is a symbol of the magic and power of Prospero, and this power has got scary, and possibly evil aspect. Nearly one-fourth of David Hirst’s study, The Tempest: Text and Performance (1984), is spent on the essence of magic and how different kinds of productions present it. At one stage, he asks, what, then, is Prospero attempting to accomplish specifically by his use of magic? This issue is essential to the play; it should be the first concern of both critic and director (pp. 25, 26).  As Andrew Green mentions, Prospero is seen as the most powerful character in “The Tempest” as he is the one who orders such music or sounds and the one who is the cause of the shipwreck by the help of Ariel. So, by his magic, he is the cause of everything and everyone’s fate in the play. Music and sounds are Prospero’s means of power and magic. Thus, they are a means of control. Prospero reaches at most of his aims by the help of music. Also, Ariel is one of the most significant characters in the play as he is the source of music and sounds.  For Teague (2001), since the magic of Prospero is his only source of strength, how he portrays his magic becomes a reference to the character. For instance, if magic is viewed as an artistic experience like a masque or dance, then Prospero is an artist; Prospero can be a terrifying dictator if magic is darkly disturbing; or Prospero is an inadequate sorcerer if the magic is humorous and ineffective. So both in the text or during a stage performance, the presentation of magic has great significance. According to Shakespeare’s Globe, smoke was often used as a magic trick by theatre companies, but it was often used to indicate a fire as well. Based on the chemicals that they put together, they could create black, white, yellow and red smoke. They used natural fire as little as possible, which was quite dangerous in the buildings that are made of wood and thatch. They burnt heavy alcohol combined with a mixture of salts depending on the colour they wanted the fire to be if they needed to create it. However, nowadays the theatres have all kinds of different technology to make artificial smoke or fire.

Many noises in the play are musical, and much of the music is Ariel’s by the commands of Prospero. According to Shakespeare’s Globe, “Magical spirits, devils and gods and goddesses often appeared in plays from Shakespeare’s time.” Good spirits, gods, and goddesses generally came into the stage through a trapdoor. A rope or a cable suspended the performers. This action was named as ‘flying in.’ Evil spirits and devils came from Hell, below the stage through a trapdoor. When demons emerged or enchantment was used, the companies often fired firecrackers. In “The Tempest”, for his magical operations, we see that Prospero employs Ariel in a variety of functions. For example, the spirit, Ariel, is commanded by Prospero to draw Ferdinand to Prospero and Miranda in Act 1, Scene 2. (p.39) and Ferdinand enters the scene for the first time with Ariel, who is not visible. Ariel sings a tune;

“Come unto these yellow sands,

And then take hands…”

We can see the effects of music here. The music restrained the storm, and the tune is so stunning that the astonished Ferdinand ceases to mourn his father (who he assumes perished in the shipwreck) to pursue the melody;

“Where should this music be? i’ th’ air or th’ earth?

It sounds no more: and sure it waits upon

Some god o’ th’ island. Sitting on a bank,

Weeping again the King my father’s wrack,

This music crept by me upon the waters,

Allaying both their fury and my passion

With its sweet air: thence I have follow’d it,

(Or it hath drawn me rather) but ’tis gone.

No, it begins again.” (“The Tempest”,p.40)

Ferdinand feels very surprised when Ariel continues chanting his “Full Fathom Five” song about his father.

“Full fathom five thy father lies,

Of his bones are coral made:

Those are pearls that were his eyes,

Nothing of him that doth fade,

But doth suffer a Sea-change

Into something rich,and strange:

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell.

Burthen: ding dong.

Hark now I hear them, ding-dong bell.” (“The Tempest”,p.40)

He thinks this song cannot be coming from a mortal as the voice doesn’t sound like earthly. Here, words and music work together to effect Ferdinand. So, when Ferdinand heard the music about “the supposedly dead body of Alonzo into precious coral and pearls” (Green, 2002), it is not only the song and the music that is effective but also the words. On a stage performance, arousing similar feelings on audience must be difficult. “Early modern playgoers, after all, went to “hear” a play rather than to see it; they were “auditors” or “audience” before they were “spectators.” Instead of seeking to gratify the eyes of its public, The Tempest reasserts the primacy of their ears.” Teague (2001) As Auden observes, the relationship between Ariel’s performance and his ‘character’ is elusive. He states that “Ariel is neither a singer, that is to say, a human being whose vocal gifts provide him with a social function, nor a nonmusical person who in certain moods feels like singing. Ariel is song. ” Auden also suggests that since he has none, he can not express any human emotions in his singing. The kind of voice he wants is undoubtedly the kind that opera wouldn’t prefer, a voice that lacks intimacy and sexuality as much as being an instrument as possible.

As a matter of fact, Prospero wants to take his kingship back from his usurper brother, which is the reason he wants to take his revenge. The music lured Ferdinand to the island and paved the way for his encounter with Miranda. Prospero wants them to fall in love, and he is happy that “at the first sight they have chang’d eyes.” (“The Tempest”,p.42) However, still, he wants to put obstacles between them in order to trigger the love even more. He blames Ferdinand for being a usurper that comes to take the island. When Ferdinand tries to object to this and draws his sword, he can’t move because of the magic. We can again witness Prospero’s manipulative magic arts. Then, Prospero imprisons him. He is trying to slow things down since he believes that something which is won easily is something unworthy. 

Act Two, Scene One

Act Two, Scene One begins with the appearance of the survivors of the shipwreck. As described by Cutts, King of Naples; Alonso has started feeling a sense of remorse and grief. These feelings are mostly due to his conviction that his son, Ferdinand, died at the shipwreck (p.350). However, according to Gonzalo, he shouldn’t be as at least they survived. Anthonio, Sebastian and other lords are in a war of words as if they are children causing a somehow funny atmosphere which will turn out to be contrary. While they are prolonging their quarrel, Ariel appears invisibly “playing solemn music” (“The Tempest”,p.50). Because of the music Alonso, Gonzalo and the others fall asleep. Sebastian and Anthonio don’t hear it, so they stay awake and surprised. As Ariel completes his duty, he exits the scene. “In the Shakespearean theatre music is almost always assumed to be heard by the actors onstage as well as by the audience. The apparent exception in The Tempest, Act II, Scene 1, where Antonio and Sebastian hear nothing of the ‘solemn music’ which lulls the other lords to sleep, is making a symbolic point—that these are Tempestuous Transformations.” (Lindley, 1999) According to Cutts, the melody of the island has little control over Anthonio and Sebastian so that they are very much awake. Their consciousness is untuned to the music as murder is in their heart. (p.350) They believe that, if the King dies, Ferdinand is supposed to be the next heir of the throne. But Ferdinand is lost. So, the next heir has to be Claribel; Queen of Tunis who mustn’t hear all the news if they manage to kill the King. When Anthonio and Sebastian draw their swords to fulfil their lousy deed, Ariel enters once again. He sings in Gonzalo’s ear.

“While you here do snoring lie,

Open-ey’d Conspiracy

His time doth take:

If of life you keep a care,

Shake off slumber and beware.

Awake, awake.” (“The Tempest”, p.55)

When Gonzalo, Alonso and the others wake up, they are surprised by seeing the drawn swords of Anthonio and Sebastian who tell that they have been protecting them during their sleep. Gonzalo is doubtful as he is sure that a strange humming sound woke him up to this scene.

As Green also mentions, “the nature of the music within “The Tempest” reflects its complete presentation of power and authority.” At the same time, it “can easily be used to mislead and control the characters” as we can see here. All over the island, sounds and music are heard which direct or affect people. So, this music can reflect the “changeable and often contradictory nature of Prospero” as he wants Ariel to cause the music and sounds. By using music, magic and tricks, Prospero not only tries to persuade the other characters but also the audience, of the rightness of his case.

Act Two, Scene Two and Act Three, Scene Two

At the beginning of Act Two, Scene Two, Caliban, who is a savage tried to be educated by Prospero and Miranda, enters the scene, and noise of thunder is heard. Caliban is terrified. Prospero and Miranda tried to civilise him by teaching him their language, but besides this, Prospero wanted to possess him. He threatens Caliban, subjecting the monster to tortures accompanied by unpleasant sounds especially after Caliban tried to rape Miranda. Caliban describes the torture of the unpleasant sounds like;

“For every trifle, are they set upon me,

Sometimes like apes, that mow and chatter at me,

And after bite me: then like hedgehogs, which

Lie tumbling in my barefoot way, and mount

Their pricks at my footfall: sometimes am I

All wound with adders, who with cloven tongues

Do hiss me into madness, Lo, now, lo!” (“The Tempest”,p.56)

So we can see that Caliban is sensitive to these sounds which affect him deeply.

When Trinculo; the Jester, appears, Caliban thinks that he is another spirit to torment him. Because of Caliban’s fishy smell, Trinculo mistakes him with a fish. When the sound of thunder heard, Trinculo thinks there is no way to hide from it unless he takes shelter under Caliban’s blanket with him. When Stephano; a drunken Butler enters the scene, we can hear him singing.

I shall no more to sea to sea, here shall I die a-shore.

The master, the swabber, the boatswain and I;

The Gunner, and his mate

 Lov’d Mall, Meg, and Marrian, and Margerie,

But none of us car’d for Kate.

For she had a tongue with a tang,

Would cry to a Sailor go hang:

She lov’d not the savour of tar nor of pitch,

Yet a Tailor might scratch her where’er she did itch.

Then to Sea boys, and let her go hang.” (“The Tempest”,pp. 57-58)

When we compare this song with the song Ariel sang about Ferdinand’s father; “Full fathom five”, we can easily see Stephano is out of tune. Even Stephano himself describes his song as “a very scurvy tune to sing at a man’s funeral.” (“The Tempest”, p.57) First, Caliban again thinks that Stephano is here to torment him. He screams. When Stephano and Trinculo, who survived the shipwreck, have united again, they start drinking. Then they share their wine with Caliban who also becomes drunk, too. Caliban is now ready to be their new slave, and Stephano and Trinculo are also ready to abuse him. He feels happy for not being the slave of Prospero anymore and utters this by singing a farewell song for his old master. “Caliban under the influence of drink takes to singing something that has the ring of nursery rhyme prattle about it, again in open contrast to Ariel’s heavenly music.” (Cutts, p. 351):

“No more dams I’ll make for fish,

Nor fetch in firing, at requiring,

Nor scrape trenchering, nor wash dish,

Ban’ ban’ Cacalyban

Has a new master, get a new man.”

Caliban uses his language both to curse and also to sing. Here we can see the effect of the wine he drank. While Ariel is singing mostly under the command of Prospero, here, Caliban is singing under the influence of alcohol.

In Act Three, Scene Two, we see them again. Caliban sees Stephano as his ruler, and they mistreat him. However, Caliban starts talking behind Prospero telling how he deceived him by magic and took this island. He says, now Stephano must be the lord of this island so he can serve him. But invisibly, Ariel keeps telling Caliban that he is lying and interrupts him. Caliban gets angry each time. Stephano thinks Trinculo is the one who confuses Caliban or meddles with him so gets frustrated with Trinculo. As Cutts expresses, now Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo are making plans to take over the island. This is an activity which can only contribute to turmoil. This is the reason that Ariel interferes secretly through conflicting declarations. The drunk Stephano and Trinculo start singing again.

Flout’em, and cout’em: and scout’em and flout’em.

Though is free.” (“The Tempest”,p.69)

But they sing the song with a wrong tune. Ariel plays the tune for them by using a tabor and pipe. Hearing the tune, Stephano and Trinculo are surprised and scared. They cannot understand where this melody comes from. At the end of Act Three, Scene Two, Caliban refers to some noises, sounds and music. The Isle is indeed, as Caliban says, “full of noises“:

“Be not afeard, the Isle is full of noises,

Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not:

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears, and sometimes voives,

That if I then had wak’d after long sleep,

Will make me sleep again, and then in dreaming,

The clouds methought would open, and show riches

Ready to drop upon me, that when I wak’d

I cried to dream again” (“The Tempest”,p.70)

Act Three, Scene Three

Alonso, Sebastian, Anthonio Through his lines, it is understandable that Caliban knows Prospero is the one who creates those unsettling noises while using his magic on him. By these sounds, Caliban is traumatised as a slave, not as a servant.  It is also clear that Caliban will relax if only he sleeps because he has no torture or painful voices while he is asleep.  So he wants to sleep again immediately after he wakes up. But he can’t because he’s under Prospero’s power. It is worth recalling that Caliban mentioned torment with unpleasant noises at the beginning of Act Two, Scene Two, as well. Caliban is quite sensitive to these sounds. He even tends to appreciate the “sweet airs”. Here, Caliban doesn’t speak savagely. He learned this language from Prospero and Miranda, but he nearly always used it for cursing. Until now.

At the end of Act Two, Scene Two, we see the effect of Ariel’s music which by going away, lures Stephano and Trinculo to follow it. “Ariel leads the discontents away by the sound of his music suggesting the direction they should take, and thus delays their plan.” (Cutt, p. 352) We can once again remember how Ariel’s music prevented Anthonio and Sebastian’s plan of murdering Alonso and Gonzalo in their sleep.

, Gonzalo and others search for Ferdinand. They can’t find him, so Alonso is hopeless. Sebastian and Anthonio want to take advantage of this hopelessness so that Anthonio can be the next King.

Solemn and strange music” is heard. Gonzalo calls it “marvellous sweet music.” Prospero is invisibly watching while “several strange shapes” enter for “bringing in a banquet“. They salute them and invite them for eating and drinking. As Cutts states, Antonio and Sebastian, who are ready for committing murder to fulfil their wishes, are out of tune with the rhythm of the island. So in terms of the geological phenomenon, they think only the spirits can be the ones to bring the banquet. Sebastian considers them like a puppet show of “living drollery,” in which puppets can not move without someone holding their strings. Antonio reflected on them as creatures which people claimed to have seen in peculiar lands. In absolute comparison, Gonzalo and Alonso find a lot to admire in the Spirits, gazing at them favourably in comparison with human beings. (p. 353) While they are getting ready to eat, the sound of thunder and lightning is heard again. Ariel enters “(like a harpy)  claps his wings upon the table, and with a quaint device the banquet vanishes.” (“The Tempest”, p.71) According to Cutts, the harpy is “a fabulous monster, rapacious and filthy, having a woman’s face and body and a bird’s wings and claws.” (p. 354) Then Ariel starts speaking in a devilish tone. Briefly, he tells them that their destiny is organised and managed by him. Noone can survive here as Ariel makes people mad, and they kill themselves. “The guilty men make as if to use their swords, but are reminded by Ariel that he and his spirits are as invulnerable as the air.” (Cutts, p.354) So, in this way, he tells them that their swords are useless. They can’t harm him with their sword strokes as he can control them with music. We can also remember when Ferdinand drew his sword but froze because of Prospero’s magic. So, the power of swords can’t be compared with Ariel’s music or any magic. He reminds how the three of them did terrible things to Prospero and says that now the sea is taking revenge by taking Ferdinand. After what he has to say comes to an end, Ariel disappears in thunder followed by soft music and the previous shapes take the banquet table away mockingly. “The contrast here between thunder and music belongs to the pattern of alternating discord and concord around which the play is structured. In this case, however, the simple contrast between cacophony and polyphony is confused by the ironic “mocks and mows of the spirits.”” (Neill, 2008, p.43) Prospero, who has been watching invisibly, is proud of the scene Ariel caused, and he exits the stage to visit Ferdinand feeling content that now they are all under his power. Alonso is in grief. He says the waves had already sung him about his sin, the wind told about it in its song. The thunder screamed the name of Prospero to him. All these sounds revealed his guilt. He thinks that is why his son is drowned. Sebastian and Anthonio are ready to fight the fiend. Gonzalo believes that they all go insane, so he goes after them to prevent them from doing mad things.

Act Three, Scene One and Act Four, Scene One

In Act Three, Scene One, Ferdinand tells Miranda that he is willing to do whatever Prospero wants to rejoin Miranda. Miranda also tells about her intense love towards him. She wants him to marry her, or else she is ready to be Ferdinand’s slave. As much as a slave will yearn for freedom, Ferdinand also burns with the desire for this marriage.

In Act Four, Scene One, Prospero reveals how he tested Ferdinand’s love towards his beloved daughter Miranda and as a result, Ferdinand wins his daughter with his own deeds. However, she must remain virgin till the marriage. Otherwise, Ferdinand will be punished by Hymen; the God of marriage. For Ferdinand, his honour is above his lust. Satisfied with his answer, Prospero leaves Ferdinand and Miranda alone.

Prospero calls Ariel to ask for another trick. It is the time for the masque. Irwin Smith claims that fifteen months later than its first recorded public appearance on 1 November 1611, King James ordered a second performance as there was a celebration for the engagement of Princess Elizabeth and the elector Palatine. Allegedly, the King’s Men wanted to add a mask for their Royal Patron’s daughter. Possibly they asked Shakespeare to add such a part, and he wrote it. Since the principal aim of the masque was to connect this play to the prince’s engagement, they put it in Act 4, with the goal of adding this part shortly after Prospero announced the engagement of Miranda to Ferdinand, stating “She is thine owne.” In the scene of the masque, with soft music, first Iris; the Goddess of Rainbow, secondly Ceres; the Goddess of Agriculture and lastly Juno; the Queen of Heaven enter. They are here to celebrate and bless Miranda and Ferdinand’s love. As Cutts points out, the masque scene is a clear representation of the role of music in blessing an expected marriage union with the gods coming down to affirm a blessing which they are entitled to grant as an encourager of peace. (p.355) They sing their good wishes. Ferdinand is so much affected by the gorgeous scene and blazing harmony that he says he can live here forever with such an awesome father. Prospero wants them to be quiet so that the spell won’t be broken. Then Reapers and Nymphs dance. However, while their performance is still going on, Prospero is devastated as he remembers how Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo are planning to kill him. All the spirits vanish as a part of the magic. Miranda and Ferdinand leave, Ariel enters and tells Prospero that he lured the evil trio into a filthy water pit with musical enchantment, and he says they “lifted up their noses as they smelt music, so I charm’d their ears.” (“The Tempest”, p.81) Prospero is so sad that after how he tried to bring him up, Caliban is still a devil in nature. Prospero and Ariel become invisible. They place garish garments to allure them. Dripping wet, Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo approach to Prospero’s cave. Caliban knows how powerful Prospero is, so he wants to finish his work before he wakes up. However, Stephano and Trinculo mess around and tamper the garment. Then they hear that a group of hunters is approaching with their hounds. Actually, they are Prospero, Ariel and the other spirits. They order the spirits to make the intruders run forever.  

 Act Five, Scene One

Act Five, Scene One opens with Prospero and Ariel talking to each other. Prospero is at the end of his revenge plans. Alonso, Alonso’s brother and Prospero’s brother are all prisoners now. They are in a miserable condition. Although Ariel is a spirit, the situation of Prospero’s enemies affects him. As a human, Prospero is touched, too. He has been taking revenge because of their treachery, but now Prospero thinks that forgiveness is a greater action. So it is clear that Prospero begins to reject his magic and decides to break his spell. In this part of the play, we can understand the strength of Prospero’s magical powers from his long speech. For example, here we can discover that Prospero is also a ‘necromancer’ who raises the dead bodies from their graves. And he calls his magic ‘rough’;

“Graves at my command

Have wak’d their sleepers, op’d, and let ’em forth

By my so potent Art. But this rough magic I here abjure.” (“The Tempest”, p 86)

He is now ready to break his magical staff and get rid of his magic book. He thinks that it must be enough for his enemies to understand their faults and their unfairness.

Ariel brings the prisoners. They seem out of their minds. Solemn music can be heard. While observing them, Prospero thinks that music can be the most efficient cure for the twisted minds and says;

“A solemn air, and the best comforter,

To an unsettled fancy, cure the brains

(Now useless) boil’d within thy skull: there stand,

For you are spell-stopp’d.” (“The Tempest, p.87)

As Cutts emphasises, the ultimate return to harmony in this play is by song. It solves the mentally unstable minds of the prisoners, after the connection of Prospero’s survival and the circumstances following one another such as the survival of Ferdinand and his attachment to Miranda. Then, Prospero sends Ariel to bring his hat and sword from his cave so that finally he can look like the Duke of Milan. Ariel, who is going to be free at last, helps Prospero get dressed while singing his last song of the play happily;

“Where the bee sucks, there suck I,

In a cowslip’s bell, I lie,

There I couch when owls do cry,

On the bat’s back I do fly

After summer merrily.

Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,

Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.” (“The Tempest”, pp.87-88)

Now Prospero and the others are face to face. Alonso is taken aback by seeing that Prospero is alive. Alonso utters his sorrow after his dead son. Prospero doesn’t immediately tell him that his son is alive. Instead, he tells Alonso that he also has recently had a similar loss of his beloved daughter Miranda. However, this is a metaphoric loss as now he loses his daughter as she is going to marry Ferdinand. Finally, Alonso and Ferdinand unite. This is the second time Miranda sees other human beings, after Ferdinand in that island. Alonso asks his son’s forgiveness, and Prospero takes his title back. With the last magic attempt, Ariel turns the ship, which is in pieces because of the storm, to its previous condition. This is the final magic display of the play. Prospero gives up the magic because he no longer requires it, as he succeeded in taking his vengeance and being again the Duke of Milan.

As a result, we saw how music gives the play most of its hypnotic and magical atmosphere in the series of dreamlike events it stages such as the tempest, the magical banquet, and all the spells towards the characters. Therefore, we can easily understand that the magic of Prospero and the enchantment of music must be discussed together, since Prospero uses his magic with the power of music, or he affects some certain characters such as Caliban with the sounds in the island until he quits the omnipotence he gained through magic at the end of the play.


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RECOMMENDATIONS Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company’s June 2014 production of THE TEMPEST by William Shakespeare, the closing show of the 5th anniversary season. BLC Theatre presents THE TEMPEST by William Shakespeare in 2013