Unities In The Tempest Essay, Research Paper
Elliott Friedman12/1/97 The Three Unities The three unities of time, place, and action play a vital role in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. These unities set the scene and provide a stable plot for the characters. They also govern the dramatic structure and the ‘flow’ of the play. Each unity adds its special part to the theme of this play. Usage of the unities is a surefire way to adequately express the desires and feelings of each individual character. The three unities are: time, place, and action. Time is extremely important to anything acted out. The proper timing helps each actor to know when his or her line is coming up and when and how to say it. In this play, all five acts are acted out in one afternoon. This puts a great deal of stress on the playwright, forcing unusual situations to make the scene ‘fit’. This vision that Shakespeare had of his play, the all in one afternoon vision, allowed the characters to react with each other in the most logical ways. They were the ideal model of the people that could have been in such a situation. Place, although it seems more important, is on the same level as time. They both interrogate each character in a way that makes the character shine. Even Caliban, the most ruddy of all the characters had his spark which shone through thick and thin. The place enables all the characters to interact with each other by bringing them all to a fixed space in the home of Prospero and Miranda. Without the place, the characters would not have been able to interact with each other as they did and would not have been able to meet each other in the most fascinating style and pleasure that they did.
Action is the third and foremost unity. Action is a different genre of the unities, but it also holds its importance. Action can be used to show haw certain things are in the world as opposed to the actual world around them. The action of a scene involves the characters as a whole and their individual interactions with each other as their action. If a character is introduced or leaves the stage, they are also committing action to the play and are therefore a major part. The three unities are extremely important to The Tempest in that they incorporate all the interactions that could possibly take place and combine them in a fashion that lets them dwell on each other. They each rely on the other two to make any sense, which, of course, makes writing such a play extremely hard on the playwright and his or her thoughts. Each unity is only as important as the other two are. These exact three unities can be found in all areas of human communication, which makes them an extremely suitable form of writing a play or narrative.