Power theme in the play 'The Tempest'

Topics: The Tempest, Moons of Uranus, Caliban Pages: 3 (1274 words) Published: December 12, 2014
‘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...
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