Prospero’s epilogue at theconclusion of The Tempest providesinteresting parallels to itsauthor’s life. Written near the endof his career, numerous scholarssuggest that it is Shakespeare’swritten farewell. Just asShakespeare sculpts a world fromnothing, Prospero authors the eventson the island. Prospero’smonologue flows naturally with theystory and provides a natural endingto the work.
He describes the lossof his magical power at thebeginning of his monologue when hesays, “My charms are all o’erthrown,and what strength I have’s mine own,which is most faint. ” He remains”confined” on the Island because hehas already “pardoned the deceiver”and does not wish to return as theDuke of Naples. He follows thiswith a peculiar request of thoselistening to “release me from mybands with the help of your goodhands. ” This could be seenliterally as a request of theaudience to clap so that the sailsof the boats will be filled, for hisfriends’ return trip home. ;?xml:namespace prefix=”o”ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”/;Contrast this to whatShakespeare is voicing throughProspero. “Now that my charms areall o’erthrown, and what strength Ihave’s mine own,” takes on a newmeaning.Order now
Now his plays have ended,and anything more he yearns to saycan only come directly from him, notthrough his characters. Furthermore,the “Island” or stage Shakespeare ison is now “bare” and it is time forthe audience to release him and hisfrom the play with the “help ofyour good hands. ” Not only was herequesting release from theperformance, but from his career asa playwright. In addition, theaudience’s pleasure fills his sails,or makes him happy. If no one findspleasure in his works then what hesent out to accomplish has not beenachieved. Finally, after separating theperspectives, one can see howclosely they are intertwined.
Thisis evidenced through the puns foundthroughout the epilogue. Such asthe before mentioned “faint” and”please”. Just as Shakespearecreates different worlds in each ofhis plays and dictates the actionswithin them. So does Prospero onhis island where he has control ofthe outcome of the occurrences.
Shakespeare’s magic is in the worldhe creates. He is the magician andthe stories are his tricks.