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The Tempest

The Tempest


by William Shakespeare

The Tempest Versions of Reality Quotes

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

Quote #1

'Tis far off
And rather like a dream than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants. (1.2.56-58)

What is the relationship between dreams and memory? Prospero has a handy habit of putting folks to sleep when he's up to some other sorcery—memories don't seem trustworthy in this environment.

Quote #2

The air breathes upon us here most sweetly. 
As if it had lungs and rotten ones.
Or as 'twere perfumed by a fen.
Here is everything advantageous to life.
True, save means to live.
Of that there's none, or little. 
How lush and lusty the grass looks! How
The ground indeed is tawny.
With an eye of green in 't.
He misses not much.
No, he doth but mistake the truth totally. (2.1.49-60)

Reality reflects the nature of the speaker. This is not because reality is false, but because perspective is paramount.

Quote #3

What's the matter? Have we devils here? Do
you put tricks upon's with savages and men of Ind?
Ha? I have not scaped drowning to be afeard now
of your  four legs, for it hath been said "As proper a
man as ever went on four legs cannot make him
give ground," and it shall be said so again while
Stefano breathes at' nostrils. (2.2.58-64)

To the Shakespearean audience, the wild tales of the Bermudas and other newly found and colonized places was as good as fantasy, though the places were real.  Kind of like us talking about Mars.

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