The Tempest and Shakespeare the Man

“I’ll break my staff, bury it certain fathoms in the earth, and deeper than did ever plummet sound, I’ll drown my book.” At some point we all have to hang up our hat. It is the most universal of all truths. No one goes on forever. Prospero makes this decision at a most opportune time. His daughter has found a worthy husband, and most of all, he is to make peace with all his enemies and offer the noblest sentiment of them all: forgiveness. After these things take place, he asks for one last request, the audience’s applause or in other terms their gratitude. If Prospero is a changeling for the great Shakespeare himself, this may have been all that he had wanted in order to feel satisfaction with the life that he had lived. He wanted to feel that his endeavors had been well spent as his project merely, “was to please.” If this is Shakespeare’s personal farewell, I think we can show Shakespeare’s memory much love and respect by feeling gratitude for all the toil he put forth in his work to bring us and future generations so much joy.

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