How the contrast between Illusion and Reality has been showcased in The Tempest?

One of the main facts that run through the play is that of Illusion vs. Reality. The opening scene portrays a violent storm which appears to place the ship in grave danger. The reality of the situation is that there is no danger from the storm at all. The passengers find themselves safe on shore, with even their garments unsoiled. The King is separated from his son, and each supposes the other has drowned. Ariel’s songs to Ferdinand about his father seem to state that the King is drowned, but the reality indicates that he is alive and transformed to a better state. In the final scene, Prospero tells Alonso that he has lost a daughter, just as Alonso has lost a son. Alonso takes this to mean that Miranda has died, while in reality, it simply denotes that the fathers have lost their children to love and marriage.

Sebastian and Antonio show that they are loyal to Alonso, while in fact, they are plotting against his life. Antonio himself is also an illusionary Duke, as he has stolen Prospero’s offices and does not possess it by divine right. Caliban worships Stephano as a God, although Stephano’s power is no more than a drunkard’s illusion. At the same time, he spurns Prospero who is the real controller of his fate.

It is noteworthy that, what happens on the island is an illusion which returns all the characters to reality. Each is returned to his proper position and is restored through magic and drama.

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