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The Tempest

The Tempest

  

by William Shakespeare

 Table of Contents

The Tempest The Supernatural Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the 2008 Norton edition.

Quote #4

FERDINAND
The ditty does remember my drowned father.
This is no mortal business, nor no sound 
That the earth owes. I hear it now above me. (1.2.483-485)

Magic is more than mortal, though it tends to impact mortals. Ferdinand draws the connection that magic might also have a bit of the divine in it (otherwise it would be against God, and kind of blasphemous).

Quote #5

PROSPERO
What, I say,
My foot my tutor?—Put thy sword up, traitor,
Who mak'st a show, but dar'st not strike, thy
   conscience
Is so possessed with guilt. Come from thy ward,
For I can here disarm thee with this stick
And make thy weapon drop. (1.2.568-574)

Prospero here uses his magic to protect him in a very simple way, though obviously he is much more powerful than this action implies.  He is willing to use his magic as a dumb-show when necessary, in this case to convince Ferdinand that he's not playing around.

Quote #6

FERDINAND
This is a most majestic vision, and
Harmoniously charmingly. May I be bold 
To think these spirits?
PROSPERO
Spirits, which by mine art
I have from their confines called to enact
My present fancies. (4.1.131-136)

Prospero is not above using his magic to his own fancy. We are asked to think about the limitation of his power here – he can make spirits look like gods, but he has no access to the real gods.  Is the implication that even Prospero's magic hits a glass ceiling when it comes to the divine? 

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