top-rated free essay

Discuss the character of Prospero in the Tempest. What are his motives? Revenge or justice?

By iamgreen Nov 10, 2008 350 Words
Prosperos complexity as a character seems to stem from his almost dual nature evident even from the first act of the play. His love for and extreme kindness towards Miranda are contrasted very strongly against his hatred of Antonio and his maltreatment of Ariel and subsequently Caliban.

Prospero undoubtedly controls the dramatic action of the play but his motives are oftentimes unclear. Shakespeare immediately establishes a plausible, justifiable reason for Prosperos retribution: to promote his daughter to her rightful position in society and to ensure her future by binding her to Ferdinand in marriage.

However readers spend the rest of the play trying to decipher whether or not Prospero truly acts in favour of his daughters interests or his own. Indeed it is indisputable that Prospero does not indulge his own natural inclination for revenge. However Shakespeare tempers Prosperos vengeful acts against those of well being.

Shakespeare uses Prospero to develop the theme of power and betrayal-good men can be influenced by the machinations of other men. The betrayal of Antonio has caused Prospero to become bitter and hard. As a result Prospero comes across as cold and cruel toward Ariel and Caliban-his two servants on the island- bit it can be argued that he is only solidifying his position as ruler of the island. A position that has been unlawfully taken from him once before, a situation that he has taken extreme caution to prevent ever occurring in the future; hence why the Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano plot is never expected to succeed, as Shakespeare makes the audience fully aware in one of the most effective uses of dramatic irony in the play. Indeed the comedic effect is priceless as the innocent, uneducated Caliban is confident of his freedom and of the success of the murder plot.

Yet even while Prosperos self-serving impulses can be justified, one still wonders to what extent are these justifications truly applicable as while the play is about betrayal it is also about justice and the responsibility an individual must assume to admit his wrongdoings and ask for pardon.

BIBLIOGRAPHYThe Tempest- William Shakespeare

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • The Tempest: Character Study of Prospero

    ...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 s...

    Read More
  • Character Analysis: Prospero from Shakespeare's Tempest

    ...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 te...

    Read More
  • Prospero in the Tempest

    ...Character discoveries in The Tempest Prospero Personal responsibility behind holding power. Prospero’s need for revenge catalyses his inner darkness. His thirst and dissociation with the nobles is heavily emphasised in lines such as “false brother”. He discovers that his actions were causing distress and pain to the other characters; h...

    Read More
  • The Tempest (Prospero vs. Cali

    ...The Other in the Tempest In order to understand the characters in a play, we have to be able to distinguish what exactly makes them different. In the case of The Tempest, Caliban, the sub-human slave is governed largely by his senses, making him the animal that he is portrayed to be and Prospero is governed by sound mind, making him human....

    Read More
  • Discuss Prosperos journey in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' in relation to his magic and his humanity and the changes he undergoes.

    ...Shakespeares so called late plays including works such as The Tempest and The Winters Tale present the audience with a world of incomparable wealth of interest in the unseen world of magic and adventure, all the while conveying Shakespeares unique capabilities with the English language and his risk-taking attitude towards theatre. Although this ...

    Read More
  • Character Analysis of Prospero

    ...Prospero, of course, is the play. He is the exiled duke of Milan and the father of Miranda, as well as a powerful magician ruler of a remote island. The play revolves around him. He has more lines than any other character. His presence is felt continuously, even in those scenes in which he does not appear personally. He is the manipulator o...

    Read More
  • Prospero Act 1 Tempest

    ...How is Prospero presented in Act 1 of The Tempest? In Act 1 of The Tempest Prospero is presented negatively. He is presented negatively by symbolising excessive power of England in the 17th century and people as a whole. Prospero's power is represented by his control over Caliban, Ariel, Ferdinand and aspects of Miranda's life, (her love life...

    Read More
  • The Tempest: Caliban Character Analysis

    ...Character Analysis: Caliban The character of Caliban is generally thought to be one of the author's master-pieces. It is not indeed pleasant to see this character on the stage any more than it is to see the god Pan personated there. He is one of the wildest and most abstract characters from Shakespeare. His deformity of both body and mind is re...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.