Character Analysis: Prospero from Shakespeare's Tempest

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Jesse Rangel
May 3, 2012
Characterization of Prospero
William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest opens up with a boat in a horrible storm. The people on the boat are Alonso, Ferdinand, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Stephano, and Trinculo, who are on their way to Italy after coming from the wedding of Alonso’s daughter, Claribel, to the prince of Tunis in Africa. The tempest capsizes the boat and the survivors find themselves in various places on a strange island. The next seem has a very more calm tone to it, we meet the main and most relevant character in the story Prospero, and his daughter Miranda. Prospero and his daughter Miranda were banished to this island when his brother Antonio overthrew him for the power of the dukedom of Milan. Prospero now a native of this island for twelve years has the upper hand now that all of the royalty are on his turf. He also has the help of Ariel a water nymph that he rescued and is now enslaved to Prospero. There is also the creature named Caliban that is under the slavery of Prospero. Prospero is the most vital character in this play because he has the most power and influence over everyone.

Prospero who has found the secrets of the island with his magical staff and magic books can ultimately do whatever he wants to the survivors. His first motive is vengeance as he sends Ariel on various tasks to make the survivors suffer just a little more than necessary. But he also shows great strides in the fact that in the end he is willing to give up all his magic and show mercy to his brother. “But this rough magic I here abjure; and when I have required Some heavenly music (which even now I do) To work mine end upon their senses that This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff, Bury it certain Fathoms in the earth, And deeper than did ever plummet sound I’ll drown my book”. (Shakespeare 67) I feel like this shows great strides in Prospero as a character in this play. He went from being vengeful and bitter towards his enemies to...
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