It is crucial to realize however, that imagination is not restricted solely to the conclusions of both The Tempest and Dreams. Imagination is required throughout each piece, involving myself from the beginning, to end. Although imagination is necessary in both, each requires it for different purposes. In order to fully grasp The Tempest, it was necessary for me to imagine the setting more then I was required to in Dreams which described it in elaborate terms.
Also, I found that Dreams made me question certain beliefs that I held, where as I accepted more of the standards in The Tempest. For example, in Dreams, Everett proposes a rather intriguing question that triggered my imagination for possible explanations. “‘The only place that Kenneth Albright goes, I tell you, is in dreams,’ Everett said. ‘That is the only place beyond the ward into which the patient can or does escape.'” (Findley, 99). A series of questions arose in myself, immediately following this idea, such as is this really possible? Can one enter into another’s dreams? My imagination was required to fully come to terms with these questions, in which I understood that it was possible for Everett to experience Kenneth, but that Kenneth could not experience Everett in the dream. Imagination is therefore, a necessity to appreciate these seemingly absurd and rather unheard of theories.
Finally, in both The Tempest and Dreams arise two similar characters, Mimi and Gonzalo who are portrayed as the wise ones and the protectors, while differing in the participation of dream versus reality theme. Gonzalo is seen as the protector of Prospero and Miranda as he sends them off on a boat with food, water, and other necessities to ensure their survival, while he is instructed to murder them. He is the practical one in the novel, which is why he did not move into the dream world comfortably. He would much rather stay in the real world where things were laid out in order and all of the actions of people could be accounted for.
It was not by his choice to end up on the mysterious island and he does not particularly fit into this imaginative setting. He is forced into the dream world, but would much rather be situated in reality. In the case when Ariel gave him the warning in his dreams that danger was near he awoke suddenly and preferred to remain in the real world for the remaining night. “There was a noise, that’s verily. ‘Tis best we stand upon our guard, or that we quit this place. Let’s draw our weapons.” (Shakespeare, 40). He was prepared to move camp and situate somewhere else in an attempt to escape the dream world that he found himself in for a short period of time.
Mimi shares many of the same characteristic’s as does Gonzalo in that she is a guardian figure and protector over Everett, such as Gonzalo was over Prospero and Miranda. When she discovered that he could not sleep she was determined to stay awake, in order to watch over him and oversee his health. However, she was not only the guardian of her husband, but also that of her patient Brain Bassett, as she was known in the hospital as, “Bassett’s crazy guardian angel.” (94).
She became very involved and attached to him, as Everett had become to Kenneth. However, unlike Everett and even Gonzalo, she was much more willing to become apart of the dream world then was Everett or Gonzalo. She entered the dream world actively in an attempt to save her patient, Brian and help her husband, Everett. With Brian she entered into his world to better understand him, “All right, she said to Brian Bassett in her mind, you win.” (Findley, 95).
She was there with him, comforting him, making one last connection with him before died. Similarly she was with Everett, actively participating in his dream world as he struggled. ” ‘I’m waiting here,’ she told him, ‘ until we both wake up.'” (Findley, 100). She shared this dream with him, to comfort and support him. While Gonzalo was much more fitted to the real world, Mimi participated vigorously in the dreamlike world to console and reassure those who she was overseeing, unlike Gonzalo.
In conclusion, as you read further into both the play and short story, it becomes much more evident that these two pieces do actually share a similar theme running through both of them. Through the setting, characters and structure of both pieces, similarities arise in the theme of dream versus reality. I have not had much experience reading pieces that take you in and out of different realities such as The Tempest and Dreams have done.
I found that I needed to read more attentively then I otherwise would, in order to distinguish which world and setting I was in. I surprised myself as well, in that I am usually not a very accepting person of leaving things to magic, and even as a child would criticize things for not being “realistic”. However, while reading The Tempest I later realized that I completely accepted the explanation that magic made it possible and that fate led the way. I was able to accept The Tempest as more of a fictional piece, then I could of Dreams, for I have been to Toronto many times and understand it as a real place, while an island on the Mediterranean seems far and distant to me, a perfect setting for a fictional story. While reading Dreams however, I found myself believing that Mimi and Everett were actual people, seeing as how the setting was so real.
Dreams as well, had an especially strong impact on me due to my personal experiences as a child. While living in my previous house when I was around age five or six, I would have a reoccurring nightmare. Every night I could count on the same dream in which I was being chased down a school hallway. As soon as Everett refused to sleep because of a reoccurring dream, I understood exactly what he was feeling and it gave me the shivers as I remembered a similar dread of going to sleep. This, along with the fact that I kept believing Dreams was partly non-fictional, made the short story seem more chilling then The Tempest. While there are obvious differences, in both Dreams and The Tempest, many similarities can also be found. Through the use of setting, characters and structure the theme of dream versus reality is conveyed in an apparent and attractive way.