The Tempest Supernaturalism in The tempest
Perhaps supernaturalism is the most striking feature of the play The Tepest.The play would not be able to stand on its own if the element of magic were eliminated. In fact, magic plays a very important role in the play the tempest. Prospero would be a complete nonentity without his supernatural powers. It is by virtue of his supernatural powers that Prospero becomes the master of the island. Without magic he would have been Caliber’s servant instead of being his master.
Almost every incident of the play is enabled by the power of magic. The very storm, which blows in the opening scene, has been created by Ariel’s supernatural powers under Prospero’s order. Prospero’s supernatural power is far greater than Ariel’s, and for this reason Prospero is able to use Ariel as he likes. Ariel becomes an instrument because of Prospero’s vast supernatural powers.
Then there is the banquet that has been laid before Alsono and his companions by the spirits at Prospero’s behest. The banquet mysteriously disappears. Next, Ariel disguises the three offenders and administers a terrible penalty. Ariel incapacitates Stephan and the other two evil-doers and enables Prospero to foil Stephano’s efforts to murder him. (He lures them in to a stinking pond of water.) Furthermore, Stephano and Trinculo forget their plan to murder Prospero, because they feel so tempted by gaudy clothes produced by Ariel under Prospero’s supernatural power.
In summary, the supernatural absolutely dominates the plot of the play. Specifically, Prospero’s supernatural powers constantly occur and multiply. Prospero’s power and its exercise are this magic. The great magician can control storms and lightening and make graves open. His command the fairies and spirits takes us to a wonderland -- the island Prospero’s magical power. The exercise of supernatural power is limited to Prospero’s island, and before leaving the island he must relinquish it. In this way Shakespeare exercises a wise economy in the use of supernatural effects by restricting it to a limited time and area. Rips10