“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
~ William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Written by William Shakespeare some time between 1610-1611, the story begins in the midst of a dire situation for Alonso, the King of Naples, who is in grave danger. While returning from his daughter’s wedding in North Africa, his ship is sucked into a violent storm at sea. While Alonso prays below deck, his brother, Sebastian ascends to the deck to assist the crew in keeping the ship under control. Helping him are Antonio, the acting Duke of Milan and his old councilor, Gonzalo. Despite their efforts the ship breaks apart and forces the royals onboard to jump ship.
On a nearby island, the aging magician Prospero convinces his daughter, Miranda, that the shipwreck they just witnessed did not actually occur, but was an elaborate illusion created by his magic, despite Miranda’s disturbed reaction to the tragedy. No one was hurt in the process, according to Prospero. He further explains that he was once the Duke of Milan 12 years earlier and that she was a princess. He had neglected his royal duties in favor of studying magic, which gave his evil brother Antonio—with the help of his friends Alonso and Sebastian the opportunity to banish Prospero and Miranda, leaving them to drift at sea. They only survived by the kindness of Gonzalo, who secretly provided them with supplies.
Prospero has now mastered his magical art and has achieved his goal of bringing his enemies onto the island to enact vengeance. Ariel, Prospero’s airy spirit and ally, informs Prospero that he has brought the passengers to land in three divided groups—Alonso with his men; Alonso’s son, Prince Ferdinand; and the butler Stephano with the clown, Trinculo. Despite yearning for his freedom, Ariel is indebted to Prospero after he freed him from the evil witch Sycorax. Prospero must also convince his other servant, the resistant man-beast, Caliban, son of the deceased Sycorax, to do his bidding; threatening him with magic produced pain. Ariel begins to play ghostly music to lull Ferdinand over to Prospero and Miranda, the latter of whom falls in love with the young prince upon first sight. While Prospero secretly approves, he lets on like he doesn’t and imprisons Ferdinand, not wanting him to believe that his daughter is too easy a prize to be won over.
On another part of the island, Gonzalo comforts Alonso, who is grieved over the belief that his son is dead. Sebastian and Antonio harshly criticize Alonso for forcing them to pursue such a perilous voyage, in addition to accusing the king of being fully responsible for his son’s death. Ever so thoughtfully, Gonzalo changes the subject toward the prospect of subduing the island to be used for the establishment of their own government. It would be based on the laws of nature, where people would be free from work and peace would flourish. Ariel than arrives and lulls everyone, except for Sebastian and Antonio, to sleep with solemn music. Taking this opportunity, Antonio reminds Sebastian that in Ferdinand’s supposed death and Alonso’s daughter living in a distant land, that he is next in line to the throne. He fiendishly convinces Sebastian to murder the sleeping king in his sleep, in order to assume power for himself. Though, Ariel foils the plot by awaking Alonso and Gonzalo, prompting Alonso to optimistically lead the crew in search for his son, whom he now believes is still alive. Elsewhere, a drunken butler Stephano runs into Caliban and offers him some drink, to which he accepts and reveres Stephano as a god due to his alienation from and ignorance of humanity. He is then spotted by Trinculo, who recognizes Stephano and the two are wonderfully reunited.
In a nearby cave, Ferdinand happily conducts menial tasks on behalf of his beloved Miranda. Miranda grows intimate toward Ferdinand and the two pledge to marry one another, as an unseen Prospero watches in approval. Elsewhere, Caliban provides Stephano with a plot to take over the island, suggesting that he kill Prospero, kidnaps Miranda and sleep with her. As Stephano readily approves, Ariel overhears the plot and dashes over to Prospero to warn him. Alonso’s group, weary from wandering the island in search of Ferdinand, stumble upon Prospero’s cave, where they are shocked to find a lavish meal (in reality an illusion created by Prospero’s spirits). Before they can eat, Ariel appears in the form of a harpy, a mythical bird with the face of a woman, and accuses the men of committing a crime against Prospero in banishing him to this island. Ariel informs them that their shipwreck is the deserved punishment, in addition to the loss of Ferdinand. This leaves Sebastian, Alonso, and Antonio shocked and they wonder away flabbergasted.
Prospero eventually frees Ferdinand from his false imprisonment and servitude, explaining to him that it was in actuality a trial he had to undergo in order to win over Miranda’s heart. After warning the two not to sleep together until marriage, he orders Ariel to perform a masque (a form of entertainment relying upon poetry, music, dance and elaborate costuming) for their enjoyment. Suddenly, magical spirits appear to them in the form of various Roman gods appear, wishing the lovers a happy and fertile marriage. They are joined by a host of Nymphs and Reapers (harvesters in ancient Rome), joining the celebration in dance. Soon enough, Prospero remembers about Ariel warning of Caliban’s incoming plot to depose him, and he puts an end to the spirits. He concludes the festivities by providing a lesson for the masque, stating, “’We are such stuff/ As dreams are made on, and out little life /Is rounded with a sleep’ (i.e., life is a dream).”
Ariel reports to Prospero that he has led conspirators Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano to a nearby foul pond. Prospero creates a distraction by hanging beautifully vibrant clothes outside of his cell to lure his pursuers to the exit the pond. Stinking and wet, they soon arrive, as Caliban orders his partners to kill Prospero, while Trinculo and Stephano become distracted by the alluring shiny clothes. Prospero and Ariel suddenly ambush the three by sending spirits after them in the form of angry hounds, driving the conspirators away and ensuring that they are at Prospero’s mercy.
While dressed in his magic robes, Prospero is told by Ariel that Antonio, Alonso, and Sebastian are all trapped in a nearby grove, in a state of speechlessness, confusion and near unconsciousness in guilt and amazement. Prospero has pity on them and pledges to not punish them severely. Additionally, he vows to relinquish his magic—to break his staff and drown his book of spells—once this day’s work is complete. Ariel leads the three men over to Prospero, who uplifts the spell that has deceived them, and recounts their crimes that lead him to punish them so. Then, exchanging his magician’s robes for his duke’s robes, he announces that he will be returning to his former rulership in Milan. Alonso readily agrees, but is still stricken in sadness over the loss of his son. Prospero reveals to him Ferdinand playing chess with Miranda in the distance, and Alonso happily reunites with his son. This, while Miranda is shocked to see so many new people for the first time in her isolation on the island, prompting her to say, “O brave new world/ That has such people in’t!” A boat is ready, and as Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo are brought before Prospero, Caliban apologizes for his rebellion and pledges to faithfully serve his master. Prospero invites them all to his cell for the night and declares that they will return to Naples the next day for Ferdinand and Miranda’s wedding. He subsequently thanks Ariel for his services and sets the airy spirit free. In a Shakespearian epilogue speech to the audience, Prospero requests that the audience forgive him for using magic to achieve his ends, and reminds them all that he is merely human.
The Modern-day Tempest: Illusion or Reality?
William Shakespeare’s timeless classics provide generations of readers with an invaluably rich source of adventures and imaginative allegories. Many of these allegories bear both obvious and hidden metaphors that can be metamorphosized into explaining modern day phenomena. In terms of the many illusory events that transpire under the magical powers of Prospero, blurring the line between reality and illusion for the confused characters of the story, this can be applied to the current political illusion imposed by the Biden “Administration”. I place administration in quotes because many voters have expressed a great deal of skepticism toward the legitimacy of Biden’s election “victory” in November 2020, where the country experienced an unprecedented wave of election-based fraud. This primarily took the form of millions of unverified mail-in ballots, people double-voting, illegal aliens voting, people “arising from the dead” to vote, precincts in Pennsylvania projecting more voters than citizens in the precinct, and so forth.
The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately refused to do its job, with the exception of Justices Thomas and Alito, in their refusal to hear pivotal election fraud cases appealed to them. This was especially the case when the Court majority (7 out of 9 Justices) refused to grant certiorari to hear a massive 18-state strong lawsuit led by Texas to challenge the many alarming instances of voter fraud that occurred in 6 key swing states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia). Nearly every federal district and Appeals court rejected the 80 or so cases challenging the election results on legal technicalities or by the express whim of the judges, all refusing to hear the cases on the merits. Thus, with a major presidential election where there was clear evidence of fraud, many Americans continue to express skepticism about seating a president who most likely did not win and is illegally occupying the highest position of authority. These would be equivalent to those people (if they Shakespeare had revealed them) immune to Prospero’s illusory magic and thus are capable of discerning between reality and deception.
In terms of the actual host of characters in Shakespeare’s story, Prospero and his host of magical powers that created the entire illusion-driven plot, can be compared to Joe Biden’s handlers or the unnamed political operatives behind the curtains pulling the puppet strings to direct Biden’s every move. They are the ones responsible for driving the illusion of a “Biden presidency”, hiding the many truths plaguing the executive branch behind the screen of smoke and mirrors. The crisis at Texas’s southern border with Mexico is perhaps the most apparent example, as the Biden administration repeatedly refuses to allow news reporters to see what is actually going on.
In recently leaked footage, some provided by Senator Ted Cruz and other politicians surveying the detention centers, found abysmal conditions for migrants, many stuffed in cage-like containments and wrapped in blankets of tin foil. But if you relied on the false narrative propelled by Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, you wouldn’t know what was really transpiring, not only at the southern border, but also with the Biden administration as a whole—as they are the first modern administration to go 62 days without holding a formal press conference.
And when he finally did hold one, Biden had picture-filled cards containing everything he was required to say, the specific members of the press he needed to call on, and predetermined answers to give to the gentle questions that were allowed to be asked. Despite this, Biden tiredly lost his train of thought, made bizarre statements when going off-script, and looked continually dazed in a state of confusion throughout. This ease of treatment of Biden reading off of picture cards is similar to how Prospero seemed to barely lift a finger in doing any laborious tasks, mostly choosing to sit back and watch as his magic illusions deceived his targets. In this sense there is a dual fictional representation, with Prospero being Biden, but his magical powers dwell with his handlers. The fact that Prospero was the former Duke of Milan, exiled by his brother Antonio, represents how Biden was the former Vice President of the United States under Obama, exiled to operate in Obama’s shadow (despite his constant desire to become president) and step out of the political spotlight during President Trump’s first term, all the while his diabolical scheme to steal the outcome of the 2020 election and become an unofficial president, developed over the years (basically since Trump first won in 2016, they plotted to prevent a second term).
Ariel, the airy spirit who conducted much of Prospero’s busywork of deceiving the captives on the island, represents press secretary Jen Psaki, of whom I briefly mentioned earlier. Her position is an important piece on the chessboard for ensuring that the press (and by extension the public’s) access to what is actually transpiring in the Biden administration, and in every executive branch access to Washington D.C., is being shrouded in secrecy (akin to Ariel’s illusion). Many independent bloggers and analysts have argued that Biden doesn’t even occupy the White House, which arial video footage mostly shows has gone dark since Trump left.
Biden’s supposed “White House” is apparently a series of elaborate movie sets, one set up as the Castle Rock movie set replica of the White House in Norfolk, Virginia, and others located throughout the country. Conspirators Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano, who were easily fooled by Ariel’s illusory deceptions, represent the many Americans who oppose a Biden presidency, yet are fooled into believing that he actually won the election and is a legitimate president. They have bought into the mainstream Fake News media narrative that there was absolutely no actual fraud in the 2020 election and that Biden actually won the purported 80 million votes, more than even Obama in 2008, despite being widely more popular among every category of voters than his former VP, Biden.
Lastly, Antonio, Alonso, and Sebastian represent the primary target of Biden’s wraith and deception, the core of the Republican party that unequivocally supports President Trump and was successful in dethroning the continued Democrat-controlled executive following the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and discontinuation of Democrat control following Obama’s tenure. Many of the Republican allies who support Trump, but do not occupy his political circle, fall within this category and thus are often deceived by what they see on TV, unaware of Biden’s major cognitive decline; his inability to govern without the express guidance of his speech writers, schedulers, and aides; gradually passing on his fake power to his VP Kamala Harris for her to take over and keep the illusory presidency strong; his hiding of everything actually transpiring in the White House, at the southern border, and with foreign relations overseas; in addition to the heightened military presence of thousands of National Guard troops in D.C. This presidency is anything but normal.
The protected Ferdinand and Miranda (Ferdinand oblivious to the magic on the island) represent how Biden’s family, most prominently Hunter Biden, has been insulated from proper investigatory oversight into his many years of illegal investment and pay-for-play leveraging of executive branch favorability by Joe Biden while point-man to Ukraine and appeaser to Communist China. But this political insulation will presumably wear off sooner rather than later, as many people are questioning the smoke and mirrors cover-up by the Biden administration, citing many obvious indicators to his illegitimacy and unfitness for the presidency.
Biden has been getting hammered by both Democrats and Republicans for the undeniable crisis at the southern border, following over 13,000 unaccompanied children apprehended among the surge of illegals seeking entry into the country. Many Republicans have also criticized Biden’s weakness and pandering to the hostile Communist Chinese government, executing the most wasteful stimulus package in U.S. history, and carelessly killing off valuable American jobs (such as canceling the Keystone XL pipeline) in a massive reversal to many of Trump’s job-creating measures. All this, and more, will lead to the eventual downfall of the fake Biden presidency and provide an exposé of what has really been transpiring behind the curtain. Remember, a simple magician’s trick is but a temporary illusion, and the truth will always come to light.
Happy Resurrection Sunday! Praise Christ the Lord, who on this day rose from the dead, conquering death for the forgiveness of mankind’s sins.
*N.B: This essay is based in part on a synopsis of William Shakespeare’s classic drama The Tempest, contained in Dr. W. John Campbell, Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics (Fall River, 2000), pp. 794-802.© Stone Washington
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