The Tempest: Manipulation

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Honors English 9 (5/6)
8 March 2012
Manipulation and Control
As a final farewell to theatre, William Shakespeare wrote The Tempest. In this tragicomedy, Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, have been stuck on an island for twelve years with their slave, Caliban, and Prospero’s secret servant, Ariel. To get revenge on his brother, Antonio, for overthrowing him from rule, Prospero concocts a tempest to bring him, his entourage, and Alonso, a conspirator, to the island, where he plans to regain his throne. The constant struggle and desire for power results in manipulation. Consequently, one theme illustrated is that manipulation can be seen in three forms: physical, verbal, and musical. For instance, physical control is seen when Prospero subjects Caliban to serve him with harsh threats. Then, verbal manipulation is seen when Antonio persuades Sebastian to kill Alonso in order to gain his throne. Finally, Ariel manipulates a drunken group with melodic tunes in order to lead them to Prospero, which is seen as musical control.

First, physical control, a form of manipulation, is seen when Prospero commands Caliban to serve him with extreme threats. To get revenge on his brother, Antonio, for stealing his kingdom, Prospero creates a storm to shipwreck his brother and other targets. When he witnesses Miranda’s empathy for the crew aboard, he decides to tell her the story of how they ended up on the island. Afterwards, they decide to visit Caliban, their slave. The monstrous beast was taken under Prospero’s wing when they first arrived. They taught him how to speak; and in return Caliban showed them the island. But when Caliban tried to rape Miranda, Prospero turned him into their slave. When the two visit Caliban, he curses at them and in return Prospero threatens, “For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps/ Side-stitches…Urchins … Thou shalt be pinched/ … each pinch more stinging...” (1.2.389-394). Prospero promises to torment Caliban if he does...
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