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The Tempest Theme of The Divine

The divine is a parallel to Prospero's magic in The Tempest. Like nature, the divine is often given credit for Prospero's work, yet it has a special meaning for Prospero in particular. He is the only one that grasps the limitation of his power, and he knows that it stops shy of making him a god. Womp womp.

To celebrate Miranda and Ferdinand's union, Prospero brings spirits in the shape of gods before them, hoping to impress the young lovers. Prospero admits, perhaps with some sadness, that these are not the real deal. Prospero, as everyone else, is subject to the divine. His magic is only a tinkering tool in the face of the larger project designed for him by powers higher than his own. 

Questions About The Divine

  1. Prospero seems a bit sad that he can only show the children fanciful mockups of the real gods as he celebrates Ferdinand and Miranda's union. Does Prospero envy the gods' power?
  2. What is Prospero's relation to the gods? Does he answer to any higher power?
  3. How much of what happens in the play is the direct result of Prospero's magic, and how much seems to be the coincidentally convenient outcome of divine providence? 

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Prospero's art is not at odds with the gods because he still answers to and appeals to them, not to himself.

Prospero has no god, otherwise he would not dare meddle in works of both nature and the divine.

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