Master-Servant Relationships in the Tempest

Topics: The Tempest, Moons of Uranus, Prospero Pages: 3 (944 words) Published: December 6, 2012
ENGL 2310.24
Master-Servant Relationships
The theme of power is prevalent in The Tempest with the help of the master-servant relationship between many of the characters. The play is full of instances where the relationship is disturbed. In the play the servant shows lack of regard to the master’s authority or influences a choice that the master makes. The servants’ actions are to show that they had control over something or that they wanted to have control over something and they end up giving a new perspective to the masters. In the opening act there is a scene of upheaval brought by a storm. During the storm the noblemen are shown by the Boatswain that they had no authority over the storm: None that I more love than myself. You are

a councillor; if you can command these elements
to silence, and work the peace of the present, we
will not hand a rope more. Use your authority. If
you cannot, give thanks you have lived so long, and
make yourself ready in your cabin for the mis-
chance of the hour, if it so hap. ––Cheerly, good
hearts!––Out of our way, I say! (1.1.20-28)
Antonio and Sebastian are angry with the Boatswain for giving them orders to go into the cabin. Sebastian curses him by calling him a, “blasphemous, incharitable dog” (1.1.41-42). The Boatswain, the servant, has shown that the noblemen, the masters, should respect his authority. When Gonzalo tries to remind the Boatswain of who is aboard the ship, the Boatswain responds with, “…What cares these / roarers for the name of king? To cabin! Silence! / Trouble us not” (1.1.16-19). The Boatswain has shown that being a servant is not all he can do. He has shown that there is some authority in his nature. In this scene the storm has disrupted the master-servant relationship. Disturbances between the relationships continue throughout the play. Caliban was the ruler of the island until Prospero took authority over it. “This island’s mine by Sycorax, my mother, / which thou tak’st from me”...
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