Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mira 'Assaf Kafantaris

Second Advisor

Brynnar Swenson


Magical usage plays a significant role in William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. However, who gets to use magic and in what ways? Why is Prospero painted the protagonist while Sycorax gets labeled a witch though both use magic? This thesis looks at how early modern English pedagogy shapes the use of magic in The Tempest. When magic is read as knowledge, then the pedagogy influencing early modern education dictates whose knowledge counts and is seen as correct and whose is erased and vilified. The epistemological formation happening in early modern England is apparent in The Tempest as Prospero uses magic as a means of control to puppeteer the outcome of the play, while Sycorax is both absent and voiceless. In this thesis I examine how the pedagogy present in early modern English schools and homes shapes the magical usage in The Tempest along gendered and racialized lines that ultimately creates an epistemology of empire.