Write an estimate of the opening scene in The Tempest.
or Opening notes for The Tempest.
The opening scene is a masterpiece of the skilled dramatist like Shakespeare. If the scene had opened with a conversation as in other plays, The Tempest would have lost its charm and would not have supplied the atmosphere and the scope for the action of the play which follows. It is the mimic tempest that has led Shakespeare to give the play the title The Tempest. The opening scene gives a thrill to the audience and concentrates the attention of the audience.
The opening scene helps the action of the play. If there had been no sea-storm, Prospero’s enemies would not have been brought to his island and there would have been no action.
The opening scene shows the skill of Shakespeare. The play opens with a scene of the sea-storm and a ship in danger. There is a great movement on the ship. Orders are shouted. The passengers run here and there and the panic is so great that they throw themselves into the sea. Smile and tear, joy and fear, comedy and tragedy are knit together according to the usual practice of Shakespeare. While the other passengers are panicky, Gonzalo is calm and speaks wise and humorous words. The storm reveals the characters of Gonzalo, Antonio and Sebastian.
The opening scene shows Shakespeare’s accurate knowledge of the language of sailors. Shakespeare had never been to sea, but he seems to have picked up the knowledge of sailors language and technical terms from some experienced sailors whom he might have come across. Shakespeare has made use of the appropriate and accurate language of seamen. It is the first scene of storm ever exhibited on a stage.
The opening scene has a moral significance. Like death, a storm or a common danger reduces the high and the low to the same level.
Prince and pauper all become equal in the presence of a storm or danger.
Thunder and lightning, shouts and curses, tossing of the ship and the rolling of big waves, the terrible noise of the sails and the howling of the wind are all exciting and thrilling things and engage the attention of the audience.