‘The Tempest’ as a coming of age story?

3 Mar

I have a new theory about The Tempest.  The theory is that The Tempest is, in essence, Prospero’s coming of age story.

At the start of the text, Prospero is preoccupied with revenge.  He is livid that he was usurped as Duke of Milan and wants those responsible to suffer.  Indeed, it is the negative and dark emotions which cause him to use his magic to concoct a tempest.  As the play progresses, he learns about others and his world and, as such, is able to let the anger go and focus, instead, of happier things such as love and forgiveness.  In this sense, he moves from immaturity to maturity.

Viewed in this way, Alice Walker’s ‘The Flowers‘ becomes the perfect example of related material.  Walker’s text starts with references to light and lightness, and then moves to darkness when the protagonist discovers the corpse of a lynched man.  The trajectory of the narrative, from lightness to darkness, is thus the reverse of The Tempest.


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