9. Vengeance and Virtue: The Tempest and the Triumph of Tragicomedy

  1. Helen Wilcox

Published Online: 30 NOV 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118327647.ch9

1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England

1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England

How to Cite

Wilcox, H. (ed) (2014) Vengeance and Virtue: The Tempest and the Triumph of Tragicomedy, in 1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118327647.ch9

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 NOV 2013
  2. Published Print: 2 JAN 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405193917

Online ISBN: 9781118327647

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Keywords:

  • 1611;
  • The Tempest;
  • tragicomedy;
  • vengeance;
  • virtue

Summary

The year 1611 includes a significant landmark – the launch of William Shakespeare's final sole-authored play, The Tempest, which explores many elements of James's authority in 1611: his seemingly providential survival of plots and conspiracies, his concern with international matchmaking and the future of the Stuart dynasty, and his interest in the responsibilities of kingship and government. The play's tragicomedy of ‘strangeness′ and ′wonder′ deploys magical visual effects and witty language, as well as the rhetoric of theme and variation on the adjectives ‘strange′ and ′wondrous′ themselves, to bring these unusual elements to the fore in the play. The Tempest ends with promises from Prospero about a royal marriage between Miranda and Ferdinand, and the journey home will be safe and ‘expeditious’ for all with ‘calm seas’ and ‘auspicious gales’. This shipping forecast is a far cry from the opening of the play when a dramatic and destructive storm appears.