The concept of discovery whether it is physical, spiritual or intellectual, can be nominally defined as the pursuit of the unknown. Such explorations can lead individuals, communities and nations to subsequently engender insight through a cathartic process of realisation and self-awareness. Literary texts of disparate historical and social contexts commonly encompass the concept of discovery through the significance of an unprecedented setting and the transformative progress of redemption through the revaluation of entrenched values and morals. These ideas are elicited in William Shakespeare's 1611 play 'The Tempest' and Francis Bacon's 1615 essay, 'Of Travel'.
The notion of territorial discovery promulgates the importance of setting to effectively portray disorientation and conflict. In Shakespeare's 1611 play, 'The Tempest', the island of 'subtle, tender and delicate temperance,' is characterised with attributes of freedom, disguise and misinterpretation; as Shakespeare's 'green world'.The illusionary portrait of the island thus evokes speculative controversy between the characters. This is suggested through the stichomythia in Act II Scene 1 where Gonzalo proclaims, 'How lush and lusty the grass looks! How green.' to which Antonio re-joins with 'it is indeed tawny'. The use of alliteration in 'lush and lusty' evinces an affirmative perception of the land through an association with feminine sublimity as opposed to the sarcastic and mocking prose of the latter character, where the juxtaposition of color imagery hints at the inhospitality of the land. Prospero's vision for the island with 'cloud-capped towers and gorgeous palaces' agreed with Gonzalo's utopian view, though he later deems as an 'insubstantial pageant'Through these interactions, it is suggested that Shakespeare is highlighting the attitudes prevalent in the Age of Discovery; emulating the controversial perspectives of colonialists on new land in their travels.