Master-Servant Relationships in ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Dr Faustus’
Prospero, in ‘The Tempest’, resides on the island with his daughter Miranda and two mythical creatures; his favourite being Ariel who performs magic for him and is a trustworthy servant- this would cause controversy with the audience as magic was a concept both feared and believed in at the time this play was performed. The other is Caliban, son of Sycorax- the witch who used to ‘own’ the island; he is more suited to the role of reluctant slave. Again, this is very relevant to the time as the ‘new world’ was being explored and consequently the native people were falling victim to the power of the explorer. Whereas Dr Faustus has a servant that he acquires through magical conjuring- the devil Mephistopheles. But is Mephistopheles really a servant? Or rather the manipulative master of Dr Faustus in a subordinate disguise. Dr Faustus was also seen as very controversial for the time, Britain was still very religious and the Church of England would be wary of the mention and portrayal of devils in Christopher Marlowe’s play. The first meetings of the characters in the master-servant relationships are essential to how their relationships are shaped. In the Tempest the formally Sycorax-owned island had only a few remaining inhabitants, one of them being Caliban. When Prospero, the Duke of Milan, was exiled from his country with his young daughter Miranda he arrived on the island to find Caliban a ‘savage and deformed’ monster. To be described in this way was a normal reaction from an explorer to his ‘discoveries’, they did not believe that the people they found on their way to their riches were equal to them at all and were in need of being colonised for their own good. Caliban was living on the island alone and since Sycorax did not pass on her magical abilities onto him Prospero would have thought him an easy ‘power’ to overthrow. He effectively colonised the savage and took over the island by...
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