The Tempest: Character Study of Prospero

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Character Study of Prospero in The Tempest

"The Tempest" is a play written by Shakespeare in 1611. It is a play about a man called Prospero who's brother (Antonio) attempts to murder him and his 3 year old daughter Miranda in order to become the Duke of Milan. Antonio plans to kill them by sending them out in a boat that would sink at sea. However, his plan failed as Prospero and Miranda survived and ended up shipwrecked on an island. After 12 years on the island, Prospero decides to claim revenge on his brother and everyone who was involved in his attempted murder. Everyone is unaware Prospero and Miranda are alive and well so Prospero uses this to his advantage, and causes Antonio and other members of the Italian nobility to shipwreck on the same island Pospero is on using his magic he has developed over the years and a spirit called Ariel.

William Shakespeare was an English poet and play wright in the late 15th to early 16th century. Of his surviving work he has 154 sonnets, 38 plays and two long narrative poems.It is believed Shakespeare was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon but many facts about his life are unclear, and there is actually a long period of time when there are no records of him these are known as the "Lost Years". At the age of 18 he married 26 year old Anne Hathaway who was 3 months pregnant, with one of their three children Susanna. Hathaway and Shakespeare later had twins called Hamnet and Judith. He died on 23 April 1616 at the age of 52.

In the play "The Tempest", Prospero is the central character. The whole story has evolved from his past and all of the events in the story unfold with him or around him. In the play he has the power of magic, a spirit called Ariel (who he freed from a log in return for servitude until such a time that it was no longer necessary.) and Caliban ( a monster who believed he owned the island until Prospero and Miranda arrived and Prospero tamed Caliban to protect and be their personal servant.We know Prospero treats him as a servant because he is only allowed near Miranda when he is doing tasks such as gathering firewood. We know that Prospero does not value Caliban because he refers to him as "thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself". This shows that Prospero looks on Caliban in a very negative way and also refers to him as "slave" frequently. However Prospero does pardon Caliban towards the end of the play which shows that he can forgive. Prospero is a very diverse character and is portrayed as a good character but also as a character that has his downfalls.

Prospero is shown in many different ways and we see different sides to him. For example when he decides he wants Ariel to cause a shipwreck he makes sure that nobody is killed and the people who do not need to be involved are put into a slumber and the ship is hidden in a bay on the island. While this shows that he is fair because he does not wish to punish those who do not deserve it or have not wronged him in any way, but his daughter Miranda asks him to save anyone from harm. Prospero replies "No harm. I have done nothing but in care of thee- Of thee my dear one, thee my daughter" this shows that the main reason he did not kill everyone who he did not want alive was because Miranda did not want any harm to come to any of the innocent people. However the fact that the main reason he did not kill everyone was because Miranda did not want him to also shows that he may have no problem killing the innocent. He does show appreciation of his daughters compassion when she asks him to spare the men on the ship. We know he shows appreciation when he says "The very virtue of compassion in thee."

Prospero shows different opinions of Ariel too. When Ariel returns from the ship after causing it to be destroyed Prospero refers to him as "My brave spirit", but when Ariel refers to the promise Prospero made of eventually setting him free, Prospero takes offence and treats Ariel more as a slave...
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