Explore the Ways in Which Prospero Is Presented as a Character in William Shakespeare's ‘the Tempest'

Topics: The Tempest, Moons of Uranus, Prospero Pages: 5 (2213 words) Published: September 8, 2006
Prospero is arguably the most interesting and diverse characters within William Shakespeare's ‘The Tempest'. He is a man that was wronged by his usurping brother, however he is somewhat difficult to like as his story unfolds and the story of others is submerged. His power over and treatment of other characters shows him as a man that is struggling with his own importance and ability, however his isolation from the world for so many years clearly plays an important part in the way prospero uses his power to try and obtain justice for what he lost. His Manner is presented as authoritarian, Shakespeare uses language to create Prospero's threatening manipulative manner, using dialect that has emotional impact on each character for separate reasons. The changes that occur in Prospero's character are unfathomable at times, and many of his speeches are fairly ambiguous. Prospero's treatment of Caliban is malicious, he enslaves him and calls upon his spirits to pinch him when he curses. His handling of Caliban can be justified to some extent; Caliban is the son of the witch that controlled the island before he did, and he tried to rape Prospero's daughter Miranda. Caliban's plight mirrors that of Prospero's in some ways, Prospero had his dukedom taken away by his brother and was then isolated from the world, Caliban is the only island native in the play, and in his opinion the island belongs to him. Shakespeare is trying to highlight the human response to experiencing a negative event, by Prospero inflicting pain on Caliban and suppressing him and his power, he cannot be a victim. Prospero feels threatened by Caliban, he wants to suppress the Native of the island, to gain complete control, his fear of losing power again is incredibly deep-seated. His hatred of Caliban is evident in the way he addresses him, "Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself upon thy wicked dam, come forth!" By Prospero calling Caliban a slave, he is giving him a pungent reminder of the situation he despises, being a slave to Prospero. It shows Prospero's insecurity's and fears, like a classic bully and victim scenario, if Prospero is the bully he won't be the victim. He refers to him as ‘poisonous' and ‘got by the devil himself' this demonstrates his wish to demoralise Caliban and manipulate his thoughts into believing himself to be evil and noxious. Ariel is extremely loyal to prospero, his devotion does not falter throughout many years of Prospero's autocratic rule over him. His control over Ariel in unsympathetic, his promise to free the spirit is not fulfilled when he said it would be, because he wants to continue with his plan to punish the men that have made him suffer. When Ariel reminds prospero of his promise, prospero becomes enraged and threatening "Thou liest, malignant thing! Hast thou forgot the foul witch Sycorax, who with age and envy was grown into a hoop? hast thou forgot her?". By referring to Ariel as a malignant thing, he is reminding Ariel that he is a spirit, a ‘thing' rather than human, to raise himself on a higher level than Ariel, he tries to make him feel guilty for being disloyal and ungrateful, he shows his manipulative nature by turning the wrongdoing onto Ariel, he likens him to a disease, and a threat by describing him as ‘malignant', this is similar to the way he describes Caliban as ‘poisonous', highlighting his insecurity and bullying nature. Prospero does not want the aggravation of dealing with Ariel when he already has complete control over him, There are too many other characters and situations he is desperately trying to keep in control of for Prospero to worry about his risk free relationship with Ariel. Prospero's behaviour towards Ariel is domineering, Shakespeare's showing people's inclination to disregarding the things we don't need to think about, Prospero doesn't need to worry about Ariel leaving, Ariel is enslaved to him until Prospero's sets him free, so there is no reason to question his treatment of...
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