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The Tempest The Supernatural Quotes

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

Quote #7

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-capped 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. (4.1.165-175)

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

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 unbacked colts, they pricked their
Advanced their eyelids, lifted up their noses
As they smelt music: so I charmed their ears
That, calf-like, they my lowing followed through 
Toothed briers, sharp furzes, pricking gorse, and
Which entered their frail shins. At last I left them
I' th' filthy-mantled pool beyond your cell,
There dancing up to th' chins, that the foul lake
O'erstunk their feet. (4.1.190-205)

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

You elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves,
And you 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 you be, I have bedimmed
The noontide sun, called 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 plucked up
The pine and cedar; graves at my command
Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth 
By my so potent art. (5.1.42-59)

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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