Context of Social Justice in Shakespeare’s the Tempest

Timothy Nelson


Justice becomes a substance of nuanced when juxtaposed directly alongside injustice, and vice versa. This is due to the permissible nature of man when enacting upon revenge, as well as the skeptical sense of conspicuity which derives from unprecedented altruisms. Moreover, these natural tendencies are challenged when approached by morals and principles. Nevertheless, public and general perception of things in which are just or unjust can be definitively altered by the deception or manipulation of one’s vernacular in addition to the overall atmosphere that one may possess, thus Shakespeare fully encompassing the role of establishing the extent of social justice. This disillusionment of justice is first exhibited by Prospero who was initially usurped and exiled to a hopeless, stranded island where he then subjugated others in proclamation of justly restoring his power. As the play goes on, acts are commenced which depicts Prospero fully dictating things for his own gain, however, it is through the elaborate magic, tricks and special effects that he is able to delude or persuade the audience and the characters to eccentrically follow and correlate to his idea of supreme justice. Through this, all of the characters receive their subjective happy endings. Nonetheless, what isn’t blatantly conclusive is the actual extent of justice received in the end, and if one were to fully grasp the play in its entirety, then and only then would one be able to acknowledge the depiction or mockery of an omniscient being supposedly dictating everyone’s actions for their just end, when in reality it is not just for anyone but the autocrat.