Honors Theses

Publication Date

Fall 11-16-2020


In this Honors thesis, I examine the roles of wit and violence in Shakespeare's The Tempest, exploring my original suspicion that the play is a pacifist work. Noticing references to "bloody thoughts" in both Hamlet and The Tempest, I hypothesized that while Shakespeare resolves his tragedies using violence, he resolves his comedies using wit, making the two foil plot devices. I discovered that the plot is not propelled by either violence or wit on their own, but by Prospero's cunning. Rejecting the conventional reading of Prospero as a sorcerer, I read Prospero as a Machiavellian figure. I examine how The Tempest points to the violent capabilities of language, and demonstrate how the play, although it does not feature onstage killing, is no less violent than Hamlet.

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Marcia McDonald

Document Type

Honors Thesis

final.AKeller Thesis Title Page.pdf (221 kB)
Signed title page



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.