Tragedy, Comedy and Romance in the Tempest

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How well does Shakespeare incorporate the three elements of romance, tragedy and comedy?

The Tempest is Shakespeare’s last flamboyant and shortest play. It is difficult to categorize this play as it has elements of romance, tragedy and comedy. The tragic elements arise from the usurpation of the play’s protagonist Prospero and his daughter, the vengeance of Prospero and the plotting of murder woven quite neatly into the play. Romantic elements come from the love shared between Miranda and Ferdinand. Scenes of slapstick comedy between Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo add a comedic element to the play.

The play opens with a “tempestuous noise…” this sets the mood of the play as a tragedy as it is dark and loud. There is a risk of death, which is essential in a tragedy so in this way Shakespeare adds an element of tragedy in the play. The storm is emphatic of Prospero’s hatred for his enemies, his anger and vengeance of being usurped from the dukedom of Milan. A tragedy according to Andrew Cecil Bradley is essentially a tale of suffering and calamity conducting to death and no play at the end of which the hero remains alive is, in the full Shakespearean sense a tragedy. Therefore The Tempest is not a tragedy, as Prospero does not die at the end. During the storm the way the higher characters speak like King Alonso when compared to the Boatswain is different, they speak in verse while the lower characters speak in pose but in the storm the king speaks in prose “Good boatswain, have care.” Showing he has lost control. The plotting and scheming between Antonio and Sebastian to kill the king is similar to that of other Shakespearean tragedies such as Macbeth, Hamlet and Othello “My strong imagination sees a crown” this foreseeing imagination of Sebastian being king is parallel to the witches in Macbeth who predict his rise to being king. In this scene we see the true
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