Machiavelli vs. Shakespeare

Topics: The Tempest, Milan Pages: 4 (642 words) Published: November 16, 2005
Prospero in Shakespeare's "The Tempest" fits the description of a Machiavellian

Prince. He is cunning, conspires, and schemes, and has a tremendous amount of power

throughout the whole work. Prospero's Magical powers give a fairytale-like quality to the

work, which he uses to his advantage to become the most powerful character in the work,

controlling the destiny of all the characters in the play. He was unrightfully overthrown

as the Duke of Milan by his also scheming Machiavellian brother and Alonso, the King

of Naples. His exile marks the beginning of this Machiavellian drama filled play.

Prospero's plans to destroy Alonso's ship as it travels to Naples are murderous,

an important characteristic in Italian politics and that of a Machiavellian prince.

However, one must understand that it is an act of vengeance because he was exiled to a

deserted Island with his three year-old daughter, Miranda by his brother and Alonso and

their intentions were also harmful.

There is a lot of resentment from Prospero toward his peers in Milan because of

how he had been mistreated. The tempest he stormed up was a result of his anger and his

desire to protect his daughter, Miranda, which clearly upsets her.

Although getting revenge is very important to Prospero in the beginning of the

work, his experiment which brings Miranda and Alonso's son, Ferdinand together softens

Prospero as well as Alonso. Alonso ends up repenting for his "sins" and offers Prospero

his proper position as Duke of Milan. Prospero forgives Antonio, although Antonio

refuses to forgive Prospero.

Ultimately, Prospero loses his daughter to Ferdinand and Milan, which I think parallels how he was harshly treated by Milan's politics. Prospero becomes expresses his helplessness: Now my charms are all o'erthrown,

And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint. No 'tis true
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples....
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