Discovery in the Tempest and with Related Text

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The nature of discovery entails a journey that is transformative and concerns one’s relationship with one’s self or one’s world. Discoveries can be either sought or accidental, these discoveries can lead to good or bad consequences, but ultimately they are all concerned with the acquisition of greater knowledge and a new perspective. In William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Prospero comes to realise not only the limitations of his magic, but also the importance of love and redemption in redefining one’s place in the world, as well as one’s view of it. While in Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘dulce et decorum est’ it is the audience that is discover new notions and the actual reality of war. In ‘The Tempest’ Prospero undergoes a vast discovery that takes 12 years to materialise, Prospero’s discovery is that of the liberating and redemptive power of forgiveness in the face of man’s inhumanity towards man, in contrast with the normal notion of revenge over forgiveness. Prospero conjures a storm, with Ariel’s assistance, which brings to the island those who have wronged him. The scene seems set for a revenge plot to unfold, but instead, the ‘survivors’ soon discover that Prospero has discovered a new understanding of the world and its notions in the 12 years that he has been exiled on the island. He realises that he is as much to blame for his exile as his brother Antonio to who he gave his ducal powers to in order to pursue his magical interests, “and to my state grew stranger, being transported/And rapt in secret studies.” Just as Miranda discovers her true identity, history and future husband, Prospero has discovered his error and will return to Milan a wiser, more forgiving and less selfish ruler “I’ll break my staff, / Bury it certain fathoms in the earth, / And deeper than did ever plummet sound/ I’ll drown my book.” Through the dramatic device of the masque and Ariel’s

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