The Tempest And Into The Wild Comparison

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Discoveries are an integral and profound aspect of the human experience but are arguably most significant in their capacity to incite personal transformations. William Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest’ and Sean Penn’s film ‘Into the Wild’ clearly reflect this idea, with the protagonists of both texts irreversibly changed by their discoveries. In ‘The Tempest’ Prospero’s scheming prompts a rediscovery of his humanity that allows him to forgive his enemies, better himself and avoid tragedy. Similarly, in ‘Into the Wild,’ Christopher McCandless isolates himself from society only to discover that he needs other people in order to be truly happy, his worldview and purpose being challenged and transformed. Neither text disputes the transformative …show more content…
Over the course of the play Prospero is characterised as a strict, stubborn and even somewhat cruel man, hell-bent on his endeavour to force the discovery of remorse upon his enemies. Prospero’s lack of empathy is expressly clear in how he treats his servant, Ariel, who repeatedly begs for Prospero to grant him his deserved freedom. Yet when first asked of this Prospero simply replies: ‘before the time be out? No more,’ instantly and offhandedly dismissing Ariel’s plea. Events such as these establish Prospero as unsympathetic, even cruel, creating an image of him before his discovery that directly contrasts his character afterwards. Contrarily, during Act 5, Ariel assures Prospero that ‘if you now beheld them (the castaways), your affections would become tender,’ and Prospero is moved by Ariel’s compassion. Emotive imagery aids this, notably Ariel’s description of Gonzalo: ‘his tears runs down his beard like winter’s drops from ears of reed.’ This rich figurative language displays the depth of Ariel’s compassion, emphasising the notion that if even the inhuman Ariel can feel such compassion for these men (‘hast though, which art but air, a touch, a feeling of their …show more content…
Similarly to ‘The Tempest’ it is the dramatic philosophical contrast between McCandless before and after his discovery that highlights the impact of his change most effectively. McCandless’ initial position is made clear when he assertively tells Franz that ‘you’re wrong if you think the joy in life comes principally from human relationships.’ Alternatively, at the film’s conclusion, the dying McCandless writes ‘happiness only real when shared,’ his last words, and enduring message, undeniably symbolic of his changed worldview. Extreme close up shots follow as McCandless slowly writes this in his journal, accentuating the significance and hugely personal nature of this transformed outlook on the world. The symbolism associated with Christopher’s belt also helps to emphasise the extent of his discovery. The inscriptions on the belt document McCandless’ travels, and as such it is strongly linked to his singular purpose: the removal of himself from people and society. Hence, repeated close-up shots of the belt deteriorating as McCandless starves highlight the idea that his passion for isolated adventure is likewise diminishing, replaced by the desire for

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