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Quotes

Quote #7

PROSPERO
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and 
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve 
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. (4.1.12)

In describing the results of his magic, Prospero creates a metaphor for the theater: What happens in the playhouse is not any more real than magic, but it has the same effect.

Quote #8

ARIEL
I told you, sir, they were red-hot with drinking;
So fun of valour that they smote the air
For breathing in their faces; beat the ground
For kissing of their feet; yet always bending
Towards their project. Then I beat my tabour; 
At which, like unback'd colts, they prick'd
their ears,
Advanced their eyelids, lifted up their noses
As they smelt music: so I charm'd their ears
That calf-like they my lowing follow'd through 
Tooth'd briers, sharp furzes, pricking goss and thorns,
Which entered their frail shins: at last I left them
I' the filthy-mantled pool beyond your cell,
There dancing up to the chins, that the foul lake
O'erstunk their feet. (4.1.15)

Ariel's actions often emphasize the whimsical parts of magic, like luring bad guys into pools that smell of horse urine. These tricks are perhaps more suited to Ariel's connection to nature than Prospero's austere practicality.

Quote #9

PROSPERO
Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves,
And ye that on the sands with printless foot 
Do chase the ebbing Neptune and do fly him
When he comes back; you demi-puppets that
By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make,
Whereof the ewe not bites, and you whose pastime
Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice 
To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid,
Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimm'd
The noontide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds,
And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault
Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder 
Have I given fire and rifted Jove's stout oak
With his own bolt; the strong-based promontory
Have I made shake and by the spurs pluck'd up
The pine and cedar: graves at my command
Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth 
By my so potent art. (5.1.5)

Before Prospero announces his plans to retire, he delivers a stunning speech that recalls the ways in which he's used his art to harness the forces of nature.

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