Archetypes Fit for a Denouement: An Ariel View
If this is indeed Shakespeare’s denouement, in his inimitable way, we’d expect him to somehow explain and confirm his use throughout of the three core archetypes. With some trepidation — I did not want to get this far to discover I was barking up the wrong tree — I took an Ariel view of the play. And through his eyes, this is what I saw:
I, Ariel, am the sound of God. I am the wind from heaven. I am that part of the spirit of God that was cut off in the beginning and trapped in a cloven pine. Prospero, my heavenly master, promises me my freedom. But there is work to be done before I can be released. In the guise of the tempest, I shall bring balance to all those who caused our banishment. My work is to birth humanity onto the earth and usher it towards the chalice of the Grail for a final reckoning and the blessing of the New Testament.
As I look down upon humanity, I see three groups of travelers. They must all suffer the tests, trials and tribulations that enable them to fulfil their individual destinies. I must be their guide, their confessor, their protector, their awakener.
In other words, from a higher altitude, the three core archetypes are not populated here by individuals but by selected groups of individuals. And these groups mirror the group of shepherds and the group of wise men who were chosen for the Epiphany of the baby Jesus.
Are we looking at a play that is not just dramatizing an epiphany but offering an experience of epiphany to us, the audience?
In The Tempest, there are three groups, each representing one of the archetypes. We immediately have, if not proof, then strong structural corroboration of our hypothesis. Although exactly the same triune pattern as we’ve already seen, here we have a meta-pattern where not just Adam-Eve and Cain-Abel are represented, but also the overarching polarity of God-Satan.
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