Demian Compared to the Tempest

Sinclair’s world vs. Miranda’s world

Jake Withnell
World lit paper/2a
Word count: 1179

Although Hermann Hesse’s Demian and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest are very different forms of literature, they have some elements and ideas in common. In both literary works, the lie of a young person is influenced and changed by their environment and experiences.
Demian, Which is a realistic novel about everyday life, is set in Germany and covers the ten years prior to World War I. The story is told from the point of view of the main character Emil Sinclair. In the story, he is looking back at his childhood and explaining about the experiences and people that helped him develop into the person he has become. The Tempest, a mysterious and magical romantic fantasy, takes place on a fictional island somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea during the Renaissance Period. The action unfolds in real time over the period of a few days. Prospero, the main character, uses white magical powers to direct the action in the play. Shakespeare wrote the play to be performed before an audience, and its purpose is to entertain. The characters converse between themselves or speak directly to the audience. The titles of both works express important elements in their story lines. The character Demian plays an important role in Sinclair’s growth as an individual. Prospero conjures up a big storm, or tempest, to bring the characters to the island to participate in the tale.
In Demian, Hermann Hesse traces the difficult journey of a young man facing the pressures of society to conform and the obstacles of family, religion, and school that he faces in the quest for discovering his inner self or personal identity. Sinclair is influenced by a number of different individuals on his journey to self-discovery. Through his interaction with these “mentors”, Sinclair experiences both the light and dark sides of society. Hesse implies in his work that both dark and light forces are necessary in the...