Nicholas Starr’s “Prospero’s Art: On Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST”

Abstract: With a view to uncovering the ultimate aims of Prospero’s “project,” I consider the two great productions of his magic: the betrothal masque of Act 4 and the harpy-banquet scene of Act 3.  On the basis of a moral psychology that guides the use of his magic in these scenes, Prospero aims at a renewal of Italian politics that restores justice and moderation as central virtues of rulers.  More broadly still, Prospero’s “project” proves to be a critical but appreciative response Machiavelli.