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The Tempest

The Tempest

 Table of Contents

The Tempest Versions of Reality Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

CALIBANAs I told thee before, I am subject to a tyrant, a sorcerer, that by his cunning hath cheated me of the island. (3.2.4)

Is Caliban wrong? He says what he sees to be reality, and his reality is no less credible than Prospero's, a man who is also a victim of usurpation (each had his land and title taken away). 

Quote #2

SEBASTIANA living drollery. Now I will believe  That there are unicorns, that in ArabiaThere is one tree, the phoenix' throne, one phoenixAt this hour reigning there. ANTONIOI'll believe both;And what does else want credit, come to me,  And I'll be sworn 'tis true: travellers ne'er did lie,Though fools at home condemn 'em. GONZALO If in NaplesI should report this now, would they believe me?  If I should say, I saw such islanders—For, certes, these are people of the island—Who, though they are of monstrous shape, yet, note,Their manners are more gentle-kind than ofOur human generation you shall find  Many, nay, almost any. (3.3.3)

Once one fantasy is proven true, the seer can no longer trust what he believes to be reality.

Quote #3

ARIEL You are three men of sin, whom Destiny,That hath to instrument this lower world  And what is in't, the never-surfeited seaHath caused to belch up you; and on this islandWhere man doth not inhabit; you 'mongst menBeing most unfit to live. I have made you mad;And even with such-like valour men hang and drown  Their proper selves. (3.3.1)

Anyone whose conscience yelled at him for being a traitor would see this reality as a punishment for his wrongdoing. Sebastian and Antonio have such warped views of reality that only Alonso actually benefits from the reality check of the harpy. The other men have no consciences worth noting, and feel their reality is beyond moral consequence.

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