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Home » , » Bring out the autobiographical elements in Shakespeare's portrayal of Prospero in The Tempest
The Tempest by William Shakespeare is an autobiographical play. In this play, Prospero represents Shakespeare himself. There are some autobiographical elements in this play. Now let us try to bring out the autobiographical elements in the light of The Tempest.

In considering the play, we must also take into account the view that this play is autobiographical in inspiration. It has been suggested by many critics that the portrayal of Prospero in this play is a kind of self-portrait by Shakespeare. According to this view, Shakespeare was delineating his own character in his portrayal of the wizard, Prospero. There is certainly some substance in this view. In Prospero's temper, we find grave harmony, self-control, sensitiveness to wrong, a desire for strict justice, and an aloofness from the common joys and sorrows of human life. now, these were also the qualities of Shakespeare himself during the last period of his dramatic career. In addition to these qualities, Prospero's philosophic mood of reflection and his attitude of toleration and forgiveness seems to be Shakespeare's own mood and attitude during the final period of his professional life. Toward the end of the play, Prospero makes a long speech expressing his decision to renounce his magic and his supernatural powers. Prospero's decision to give up his supernatural powers may well be taken to mean Shakespeare's decision to stop writing dramas. 

It is generally agreed that The Tempest was Shakespeare's last complete play. It is believed to have been Shakespeare's swan song. Just as for many years Prospero governed his island with unlimited power, so Shakespeare held full sway over the English theatre for many years. Just as Prospero, the great enchanter, decides to break his magic staff and throw his books of magic into the sea, so Shakespeare decided to leave the theatre and retire to his native village of Stratford-on-Avon. There are other parallels also to be found in this play between what Prospero says and what actually happened in Shakespeare's life. Prospero has been on the island for twelve years when the action of the play opens. In the same way, it was approximately twelve years since the sequence of Shakespeare's greater plays began with Hamlet. In this way, The Tempest is out and out an autobiographical play. Here Prospero represents Shakespeare himself.


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