Power theme in the play 'The Tempest'

Better Essays
‘The Tempest is a play about power and the exercise of power’. Evaluate this view by exploring the presentation of power in the play up the end of Act III scene iii.

Initially, throughout the play of The Tempest, power is a main theme and up until Act III scene iii, power manifests itself in many different forms, which are present in a variety of ways.
In the very beginning of the play, Act I Scene I opens with the tempest of the title already in progress. The use of pathetic fallacy, for example ‘tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning’, emphasises the tension between the characters and suggests there is hierarchy on the ship; along with the use of many exclamation mark and imperative verbs in this scene, which creates the feeling of dominance amongst some characters. We are first introduced to the boatswain, who usually is subject to power from authority, is controlling those on the boat, subverting the master-slave imagery as a presentation of power. He orders; “You mar our labours. Keep our cabins” and when Gonzalo replies ““remember whom thou hast aboard” the Boatswain replies “None that I love more than myself”. This shows his uncaring attitude to the hierarchy on the ship as he wants power and dominance over other characters; whereas he usually submits to the power of Alonso, the king, he reverses this and takes control. However, the character Antonio appears to then take control on the ship and desire power, as he comes across rude, by shouting insults at the Boatswain, including the animalistic imagery of an “incharitable dog” and an “insolent noisemaker”. The use of animalistic imagery here depicts how little Antonio’s opinion of the boatswain is, and how he feels he has power over him. Furthermore, these insults are also joined in by Sebastian, this implies that he sees Antonio as a leader and wants to follow him, as well as suggesting that Sebastian also wants
In the following scene, the play introduces the vital character of Prospero who is

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Power in the Tempest

    • 381 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Explain the ways the theme of power is presented in “The Tempest” In “The Tempest”, the theme of power is evident throughout and manifests in many forms. This manifestation is shown by Shakespeare through the use of almighty characters and those of less significant power, Prospero and Caliban are an example for this particular power relationship. Moreover, Shakespeare explores various forms of power such as love, magic and betrayal, and in addition to this also makes his views apparent. Furthermore…

    • 381 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Tempest Theme

    • 561 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Chantel St.Croix English 2201 The Tempest Journal The passage provided, act III scene III from the Shakespearean play "The Tempest" is spoken by Ariel, to the "three men of sin" Alonso, Sebastian, and Antonio. The conflict within this passage is external, which contains Ariel speaking on behalf of Prospero to those who wronged him, also known as the "three men of sin". The genre of this passage is strictly fantasy, which included Ariel as a Harpy, which represents the climax of Prospero's revenge…

    • 561 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Tempest: Themes

    • 775 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Summary: In his play, The Tempest, Shakespeare conveys themes through different character pairs. Each pairing is a guise for a different theme in the play's plot. For instance, Ariel and Caliban are thought to be grouped together because they show two contrasting sides of servitude. Other examples lie behind Miranda and Ferdinand's "love at first sight", as well as the forgiveness that Alonso, Antonio, and Prospero receive. In his play, The Tempest, Shakespeare conveys themes through different…

    • 775 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Themes: The Tempest

    • 253 Words
    • 2 Pages

    COMMON THEMES FOUND WITHIN THE TEMPEST by William Shakespeare In addition to the study guide questions, one essay question from each theme must be answered and typed (12 point) Times New Roman. The Supernatural • How did Prospero come to master his "art"? What were the consequences of his intense study of magic? • What difference, if any, is there between Prospero's magic and Sycorax's magic? • When and why does Prospero promise to give up his "rough magic"? Do we actually see him do this?…

    • 253 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Tempest Power

    • 419 Words
    • 2 Pages

    In "The Tempest" William Shakespear expressed the idea of "struggle for power". During "The Tempest" the characters have a shipwreck on a island during a horrible storm. While on the island there was no one in charge. Everyone was wanting to be in control but there could only be one king. Men were prepared to kill there own brother or family to gain more power over everyone else. On this island everyone was struggling for power and would do anything possible to get it. In "The Tempest", on the…

    • 419 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Tempest Play Review

    • 945 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The Tempest Play Review The tempest is a comedy even though the play is filled with moments that can end in chaos but are greatly avoided. The story begins with the ship of Alonso king of Naples in a huge storm, which is called a “Tempest”. Which is conjured by the story’s protagonist Prospero who is the resident witch of the island and who is also the rightful duke of Milan. Prospero’s main goal is to restore her and her daughter Miranda’s rightful place in Milan by using magic and manipulation…

    • 945 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Tempest: Illusions An illusion is an incorrect or distorted perception of a real situation. The Tempest, written by Shakespeare in 1600-1611, uses illusion in many different ways. I am going to juxtapose the play with the There are 4 different aspects to the play, which are Magic, Deception, Dreams, and the Theatre. I am going to study 3 different episodes in the play where Illusion is relevant, and I will consider the ways illusion is presented. Illusion is a prevalent theme throughout both…

    • 2001 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Tempest is a play with many themes and motifs which guide the story of the play through out. One of the main and most important themes in the entire play would be the theme of Revenge. The concept of revenge is the main object fuelling the story and the reason behind Prospero 's strange actions. Act 2 of the play; introduces all the characters and presents an insight to each characters ' psyche. This act is really important because it really introduces and sets up the storyline of the whole play…

    • 689 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Power and Powerlessness of a Tempest First performed in 1611, The Tempest is Shakespeare’s final play. It explores traditional notions of power through rulers and subjects. By examining the relationship between the two, the piece challenges the simplicity of such titles. Through the construction of characters, and the interactions between, we can appreciate each ones’ possession of power, as well as their limitations. Prospero, both a subject and a ruler, exemplifies this. We can analyze this…

    • 1611 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    April, 2014 Abusing Power in The Tempest William Shakespeare uses many different elements in The Tempest to convey his different views on things. For example, he uses gender roles to show class division. He also explores the topics of love and how that has an effect on people, and how the environment can change the way people act. All of these concepts are necessary to understand, but they are only part of the big picture. In order to fully understand Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the reader needs the…

    • 1140 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays