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The Tempest and The Seagull

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The Tempest is a famous play written by William Shakespeare. The beginning of the play is set twelve years after the arrival at the island. Due to his powers, Prospero along with Antonio, Alonso (the King of Naples), and Ferdinand his son manage to survive after the shipwreck. He addresses to the spirit known as Ariel to fulfill the mission. He is determined to take the revenge on his brother. Without knowing that the mysterious island belongs to Prospero, the newcomers decide to settle in another part of the island. Ferdinand, King of Naples’ son then separates from the group and meets Miranda, Prospero’s daughter. They immediately fall in love. The farther however, does not support the daughter’s choice at first.

Meanwhile, Caliban who is a half-human ugly creature whom Prospero and his daughter found on the island detests the occupation of the island that he perceives to be his property. He therefore joins the foot soldiers from King Alonso’s camp and plans to kill Prospero in order to take back the island. All the attempts to end his life fail, as Prospero’s magic protects him. All the offenders confess to their sins and Prospero takes back the throne and becomes the Duke of Milan at the end of the play. Arial, the airy spirit, calms the tempest and everyone leaves the island except Caliban.

Anton Chekov’s The Seagull is also considered to be a masterpiece that helped transform the notion of playwriting in Russia. This play was published in 1896. It is majorly about an elusive love and heartbreaks that come with it. It starts with the arrival of Irina and her boyfriend from Moscow. She finds her son Kostya rehearsing his new play script. Nina, Kostya’s love, is an upcoming actress who also acts in this play. Irina is not amused by this new play and interrupts it blatantly. This action angers her son who goes away as a sign of protest.  

Meanwhile, Nina meets Trigorin, Irina’s boyfriend, and falls in love with him immediately. Kostya is however annoyed by this new love as he has deep feelings for the girl. He even tries to kill a seagull to show and prove his love. This attempt does not bring any results. Nina plans on meeting Trigorin in Moscow when they return with the desire to start relationships and further her acting career.

The next development of the events takes place in two years’ time when all the characters assemble at the previous farm estate again. Irina has been informed by the relatives that her brother, a former soldier who owns the estate, is in his death bed. Everyone seems to recount how life has changed for the previous two years. Nina has lived shortly with Trigorin at a hotel in Moscow but after some time he leaves her again for Irina. As it has turned out later, Nina is pregnant. Unfortunately, the baby dies and this causes a number of disagreements in the family which results in separation. Trigorin does not support her idea to further the acting career.

The daughter of the farm manager also recounts her intention of getting marrid to the poor teacher whom she has never loved. Kostsya cannot recover from the lost of his beloved one, Nina. When Nina comes back and tells her story the two show love to each other, however, they disagree on certain issues. At the end of the play, Kostsya leaves the stage and commits suicide.

Similarities

These two plays have certain issues in common. Firstly, the background of these plays is a water body. For instance, the events of The Tempest are set at the island surrounded by water. At the same time The Seagull also starts with the description of the lake. The theme of love is also evident in both plays. Ferdinand falls in love with Miranda at the mysterious island. The seagull also feels love for almost all the characters either pursuing love or running away from those seeking it. Kostya truly loves Nina but, unfortunately, she ignores him. This is what eventually makes him to end his life.

The role of the woman is a matter of concern in both plays. Miranda is totally controlled by the father. She can never make her own decisions when it comes to relationships. This results in the deterioration of the relationships between her and Fernando. The abuse of women is also evident when Caliban wants to rape Miranda. This is a sign of lack of respect to women. The other play also depicts how badly Trigorin treats Nina in Moscow. He leaves her even though he is carrying his child. The baby dies and there is no sign of remorse in the man. Irina who is initially abandoned by Trigorin later accepts him back. This fact indicates that women do not adhere to their decisions. Men have been depicted as manipulative and selfish people.

Secondly, the two plays have only one main setting. Other settings are used to define and describe the events which have already happened. They are not detailed which indicates that the main emphasis is out on the primary setting. For instance, the events in The Tempest take place on the mysterious island. There is only a short indication of how Prospero and Miranda have been jealously exiled by Antonio and his friends. The rural farm estate is the main setting in the Chekhov’s play. All the actions and deeds are done at this place. It should be noted that there exists a two-year period gap that is not described by the writer in details. Due to the last act it becomes evident what has happened during that period.

Differences

In spite of the similarities that exist, there are also a number of differences that are present in the two works. The Tempest is full of magic and supernatural powers. This is what Shakespeare uses to advance the plot. Prospero learns the art of magic on the island. He uses this ability to revenge on his enemies. As a result of this, he is thought to be the hero of the play. The plans to kill him also fail due to his strong supernatural powers. On the other hand, Chekhov does not include magic or supernatural themes. His work is based on the natural and the normal daily living. His characters have no supernatural protection.

The courses of events of the two plays are also different. For instance, Shakespeare’s work is focused on a certain goal which is eventually achieved; Chekhov’s play shows an unexpected end. The main hero in The Tempest has a strong character that eventually allows him achieve set goals. This is why he is able to learn the magic acts and uses the airy spirit to make his enemies confess. Taking back the throne is a direct result of systematic and diligent efforts. True love exits in this play and Miranda and Fernando are examples of it.

On the contrary, The Seagull is a play that has no particular direction. The characters chase after love that has become elusive. They do not achieve what they desire or plan. For instance, Kostya is unlikely to overcome the inability to win Nina’s love. He can no longer pursue his writing career and eventually commits suicide. Nina herself is disillusioned by the turn of events in her life. Her enthusiasm of becoming a prominent actress in theater disappears as the beloved man does not support her endeavors and moreover, leaves her. True love seems never to exist. People yearn for love but are never loved. Those who fall victims decide to continue to live a simple life.

Dramatic force and impact in The Tempest is evident due to the style of writing. A spectator or reader feels the impact of the play and sympathizes those who survive in the shipwreck. The description of how Miranda and her father are chased and left to die in water helps to create a clear picture of suffering they have to go through. The experience shown in The Tempest and the intense love between Fernando and Miranda are also dramatic. On the other hand, this dramatic force is not indicated in Chekhov’s play. Even at the end when Kostya commits suicide, one expects a dramatic situation to be caused. However, this does not happen.

Conclusion

The writers posses exceptional writing skills needed to complete such prominent plays. Despite the fact they have been written in different times of the centuries, they are masterpieces that have greatly influenced the artistic performance. The analyses above have clearly indicated that there exist similarities and differences between the great works. Having carried out the comparison, it is obvious that there are fewer similarities than differences. Taking into consideration that The Tempest has been written earlier it seems to be more focused and goal-oriented in comparison to The Seagull. This may be due to the fact that The Seagull is the first play of Chekhov. He therefore does not seem to have mastered the art of play writing. This explains the lack of dramatic action in the play.

The Tempest is apparently the last piece of work written by Shakespeare. Thus, it is explained why it is the more focused in terms of the outcome of the play. At the end of the play, Prospero decides to abandon his magic powers in favor of the normal life symbolizing the end of Shakespeare’s literary career.

 

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