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Shakespeare: The Tempest

5. Setting, Symbolism and Magic

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we look at some of the preconceptions that Jacobean audience would have brought to The Tempest. We argue that the Island would have reminded audiences of the Heath in King Lear as well as the woods in A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It, locations which are designed to promote self-discovery. Secondly, we look at Prospero's status as a magus, a kind of philosopher-magician figure that the audience would have been very familiar with, not least because of the real-life figure of John Dee, a magus in the court of Elizabeth I. Finally, we look at the alchemical symbolism in the play, which would have been very familiar to the original audience.

Course

In this course, Dr Charles Moseley (Cambridge) explores Shakespeare's last play, 'The Tempest'. The first modules concentrate on historical context, looking in particular at the influence of the accession of King James to the throne, and the importance of the Blackfriars Theatre. After that, we explore the growing popularity of romance and tragicomedy in Jacobean England, before thinking about how the original Jacobean audience would have understood the play. In the second half of the course, we explore two of the great themes of 'The Tempest' - power and education - before thinking about the structuring of the play as a whole, and its potential Christian subtexts.

Lecturer

Dr Charles Moseley is a Fellow and Tutor of Hughes Hall and has taught Classics and English Literature in the University of Cambridge for many years. He is General Editor (Literature Insights) of the unique and innovative academic e-book project - Humanities-Ebooks.co.uk.

The author of an extensive list of academic and other publications, Charles has lectured at universities, schools and societies in many countries around the world on topics as diverse as Shakespeare, the history of travel literature, the Norsemen, Medieval art and his own travels in the Arctic. Recent published essays range from Elizabethan painting to nineteenth century printing technology and the topographical drawings of Alfred Wainwright.

For many years Charles was Programme Director of the University's popular and respected International Summer Schools in English Literature and Shakespeare. He has planned and led study tours for parties of visiting scholars and teachers in several places, including Vienna, Prague and Florence. Charles and his wife recently led a seminar study group in Florence on Renaissance art and philosophy.

Charles is currently very much in demand as a lecturer and speaker, on both academic and non-academic subjects and has recently lectured on cruise vessels in the Arctic, Baltic and Antarctic.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Moseley, C. (2018, August 15). Shakespeare: The Tempest - Setting, Symbolism and Magic [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-the-tempest/setting-symbolism-and-magic

MLA style

Moseley, Charles. "Shakespeare: The Tempest – Setting, Symbolism and Magic ." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-the-tempest/setting-symbolism-and-magic