Prospero’s magic

Make an argument that answers an interpretive question that you raise about The Tempest. Support your argument with close reading and use secondary texts to indicate and engage with other points of view concerning the question that you raise. You might begin with the historical texts that we studied in class, and you should also refer to at least two sources that you find through your own original research.

When you identify a part of the play that sparks debate and poses an interpretative problem, it will be part of the play that raises an important question in which you could create a well reasoned and sustained argument. The question that part of the play raises could look like one of these:

What is the central conflict in the play?

What is the ultimate significance of the actions that are taken, or set in motion, by Prospero in the play?

What is the character and purpose of Prospero’s magic?

What is the significance of Prospero’s propensity to lie, to withhold information from others, or to remain opaque and not respond directly to questions that he is asked?

What is the significance of Prospero’s secrecy for the development of the play’s narrative?

What is the cultural meaning of the relationship between Prospero and Caliban?

Sample Solution