Ariel's Character in the Play, The Tempest by William Shakespeare

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English Essay

How does Shakespeare use language to convey Ariel’s character in Act 1 Scene 2?

Act one scene two is the first time we the readers meet Ariel’s character. Ariel is an airy spirit whose body is made of air. He flies and dives and hovers and soars. Ariel also lives forever and takes many different shapes as he likes. Shakespeare uses imaginary language and tone to describe his characters. Ariel and Prospero have a master-commander relationship, and they both have each way they talk to one another, with their tone and language and the roles they take on in the scene. However, Ariel’s role is much more advanced than a mere servant or a slave of Prospero. The first appearance of Ariel immediately establishes his character as he willingly responds to the call of Prospero “All hail, great master! Grave sir, hail! I come to answer thy best pleasure”. Ariel’s respectable greeting in lines 189-192 establishes Prospero’s authority, dignity, and mastership. Ariel uses these words to show respect and honour. Prospero calling Ariel to when he says “Come away, servant, come. I am ready now. Approach my Ariel, come” help the readers know the impressions of their relationship. The fact that Prospero addresses Ariel as “servant” and with the pronoun, “my” shows that Ariel is the slave, under the commands of his superior, Prospero. There is also an element of ownership, but it’s perhaps more appropriate to use the term an aspect of debt and gratitude rather than ownership because of what happened in the past. Years before Prospero had arrived on the island, a witch by the name Sycorax had been banished there from Algeria. Whilst on the island, she had imprisoned Ariel in a pine tree, had it not been for Prospero, he would probably have been left in the tree forever, thus there is an incredible aspect of dept and gratitude involved. Shakespeare uses languages and words to make it easier for the readers to know what Prospero and Ariel’s relationship is. The...
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