A taste of ambiguity within The Tempest
"...in late Shakespeare generally, the effect of the poetry is to promote uncertainty and to insist on ambiguity..."
I really agree with McDonald here. As I read The Tempest, I found it to be a lot more open ended than previous Shakespeare works that I am familiar with. One particular moment where I didn't really know what to think was Prospero's last few lines within the epilogue. He seeks forgiveness from the audience by asking them to applaud him, but I am not sure what he is asking pardon for, exactly. He mentions that he the audience would be able to do this by forgiving him of his crimes, but I don't know which crimes he has committed. Sure, he has kidnapped Ariel, but he also is saving him, in a sense. I know that if I would have seen The Tempest back in the 16th century, I don't think I would know why to applaud him at the end of the play. We could applaud him and the crew for their performance, but to relieve him of his guilt? I don't see why we would.