Comparing Power In The Tempest And James Thurber

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The experience of a discovery can often lead to a character in gaining new information, thus expanding their view of the world. As a result of being challenged by discoveries, individuals can attain a renewed understanding of the world such that it can allow them to redefine their perspective of themselves as well as the world around them. This concept is explored, in William Shakespeare’s 1610 play The Tempest and James Thurber’s 1939 short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, through the exploration of ideas such as power and versions of reality, and also shows how these ideas are influenced by context and can result in new understandings of the world.
In The Tempest there are multiple manifestations of power and William Shakespeare displays
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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was first published in The New Yorker in 1939, hence the threat of war amongst the Americans prompts many of the militaristic fantasies of Walter. “He faced the firing squad; erect and motionless, proud and disdainful, Walter Mitty the Undefeated”. The cumulative listing of Walter’s ‘qualities’ is used to emphasise his power and bravery, qualities that he wants to assert, but is not brave enough to do so in reality. Walter's fantasy shows how feeble and pathetic his life has become - even to be executed with dignity is a vacation from the mundanity of his everyday existence. The epithet of Walter Mitty being “the Undefeated” is used to emphasise his victorious attitude despite his circumstance, a testament to the power of the human will and imagination during World War II. However, the ending is a defeat for Walter, as the last fantasy allows Walter to realise that he can dream all he wants, but there are always going to be people who "shoot" him for …show more content…
After arriving on the island following their shipwreck, Gonzalo comments on the others clothing “Methinks our garments are now as fresh as when we put them on first”. The repetition of Gonzalo’s discovery signifies the importance of an individual’s perspective of their world. This is further evident when Gonzalo remarks on the island’s terrain “How lush and lusty the grass looks”. By contrasting Gonzalo’s observation with Antonio’s remark that “The ground is indeed tawny”, it is emphasised how by challenging one’s perspective, they can view the world differently. “That’s a brave god, and bears celestial liquor”. The high modality language used by Caliban to describe Stephano displays his initial perception of a new master. However, later Caliban remarks “…to take this drunkard for a god/ And worship this dull fool”. The contrast between Caliban’s descriptions of Stephano clearly emphasises how when an individual’s perspective is challenged, they attain a renewed understanding of the

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