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Full Access Prospero’s Exile and the Tempest of the English Reformation

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Prospero’s Exile and the Tempest of the English Reformation

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image of Religion and the Arts

As one of Shakespeare’s most compelling and dynamic creations, Prospero, the protagonist of The Tempest, has long been a source of scholarly interest. This essay attempts to situate the image of Prospero in the specific religious context of Shakespeare’s world. Prospero’s exile and his return can be understood more fully by looking at it through the lens of the English Reformation, in particular the situation in which Roman Catholics and their clergy found themselves under the reigns of Elizabeth and James. As with Prospero, a complex web of factors led to the persecution of the Roman Catholic Church in England; and, like Prospero, the clergy of that Church faced difficult questions about the relationship between supernatural and temporal power, questions that would ultimately decide their place in a new order.

Affiliations: 1: University of Louisville

10.1163/156852910X494420
/content/journals/10.1163/156852910x494420
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As one of Shakespeare’s most compelling and dynamic creations, Prospero, the protagonist of The Tempest, has long been a source of scholarly interest. This essay attempts to situate the image of Prospero in the specific religious context of Shakespeare’s world. Prospero’s exile and his return can be understood more fully by looking at it through the lens of the English Reformation, in particular the situation in which Roman Catholics and their clergy found themselves under the reigns of Elizabeth and James. As with Prospero, a complex web of factors led to the persecution of the Roman Catholic Church in England; and, like Prospero, the clergy of that Church faced difficult questions about the relationship between supernatural and temporal power, questions that would ultimately decide their place in a new order.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156852910x494420
2010-05-01
2016-12-07

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