• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

An Exploration of the Themes of Power and Ownership in the Tempest

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

An Exploration of the Themes of Power and Ownership in the Tempest Ownership is a dominant and ever present theme in the Tempest; almost every character in the play is involved with the theme of ownership in the play. They are either the more dominant, or the one who is dominated in the relationship. Ownership is present right from the beginning of the play, as we see that Prospero creates a storm to shipwreck Gonzalo and his men, this immediately shows us that Prospero is a powerful character in the play, later when he is talking to Miranda we find out what makes her father the Powerful man that he is. Although the characters have become dislocated on the island there is still a sense of dynastic power. There are no laws on the island, and there is no government but the characters themselves create a level of communal normality. The different sets of characters' relationships with each other play a significant part in the theme of ownership; there are the characters that were shipwrecked such as, Sebastian, Antonio, and Gonzalo. The characters that have been marooned on the island for many years (Prospero and Miranda), and the characters that have been on the island long before Prospero and Miranda were isolated there like Ariel and Caliban. These set of characters hold onto their alliances with the people they know best. ...read more.

Middle

This gives Prospero the opportunity to achieve power in the state, In addition to the authority that he holds in Milan. Prospero plans to use his daughter's marriage to Ferdinand as a chance to elevate his own status, and to gain power in Naples. When Prospero is speaking to Ferdinand Shakespeare hints that Prospero is using his daughter to "make this contract grow". Instead of going back to Milan and regaining his title as Duke, Prospero desires more, and he creates his chance by the manipulation of Miranda. Prospero does not show any evidence to prove he is happy for the young couple, the entire time we see that the magician is thinking how the outcome of the event will benefit his own aspirations. Acts 1 scene 2 Prospero and Ariel. Shakespeare has shown the reader that Prospero uses his status to gain power over other characters in his relationships with them. For example, Ariel is a spirit that Prospero freed from the trunk of a tree whilst on the island. He did this so that the spirit could serve him, and help develop his art. The first time the reader sees the relationship between Ariel and Prospero, in Act 1 Scene 2 the spirit addresses Prospero as "great master", without being prompted by the magician. When calling Ariel, shortly beforehand Prospero calls "servant come! ...read more.

Conclusion

It seems strange that after so little time on the island, the relationships between the islanders are formed around the idea of power and ownership, and what they can do at the expense of their companions to benefit themselves. The characters still believe they have the same status and responsibilities on the island as they did when they were in Naples and Milan, all though there is no government and no dynasty where this can be reflected there is still a class system where this is enforced. The characters are not disturbed in the slightest by what has happened to them in the previous few hours, or what may happen to them in the next few. Shakespeare shows us that, because of their arrogance they believe they are still of the same significance on the island as back on the main land of Europe. They may never see Italy again but this does not cross the minds of the majority of islanders, and this is why Prospero is able to use power and ownership with such a significant effect in the Tempest, because he, as master and creator is able to focus on manipulating the other characters to provide him with what he wants. All the magicians' requirements are met by the other characters even though they are unaware of them doing so. Ashley Howe 12SMI English Lit. A/S Priest ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level The Tempest section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Tempest essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Nature vs. Art in The Tempest

    3 star(s)

    However, it is evident from Caliban's use of the 'civilised' language style that nurture has in fact stuck. This is a constant reminder that Prospero/Miranda have taught Caliban everything 'civilised' that he knows. Caliban initial reaction to Prospero on his entrance in Act I is to curse Prospero, and wish for a 'south-west blow' to 'blister you all o'er!'.

  2. Explore how Shakespeare presents the theme of power in "The Tempest"

    Although Prospero has seemed unforgiving with his powers throughout the play, at the end he forgives Alonso, saying "My dukedom since you have given me again/ I will requite you with as good a thing ", showing Alonso that, contrary to his belief, Ferdinand is in fact alive.

  1. The Tempest- The Significance of the love story between Ferdinand and Miranda in the ...

    So Ferdinand insults Prospero in this way to elevate himself. As a Prince he is brought up as knowing that he is the "chosen" one from God making him more important than any ordinary person. This was a theory that was thought to be true during the Elizabethan times, as

  2. How far do you agree that The Tempest is a play about the use ...

    Without his books, Prospero is nothing but a slave like the rest of the inhabitants: "He's but a sot" (Caliban, Act 3, Scene 2, 88) Throughout Act 2 there is a continuity following through showing the misuse of power and political authenticity.

  1. Character study of Prospero

    I think that he should have tried to take action on his brother. Another very human side to Prospero's character is when he is very self pitying. It is a negative point as I believe people should not self-pity but should get on with life.

  2. Shakespeares 'The Tempest' as a Study of Colonialism.

    Given the opportunity to avenge his wrongs, Prospero prefers justice to vengeance, displaying his spark of divine nature by his empathy with human nature. Prospero's manipulation of the plot may be regarded as "directly suggestive of 'power divine'" (Knight 207).

  1. Free essay

    At the Opening of Act V of `The Tempest` Prospero decides to set aside ...

    And when I have required / Some heavenly music (which even now I do)...I'll break my staff / Bury it certain fathoms in the earth, / And deeper than did ever plummet sound / I'll drown my book". Upon reaching the climax of the play, Prospero recites an emotional but

  2. Explore the themes of Imprisonment, Freedom and Authority in The Tempest. Why might Shakespeare ...

    Ariel had been able to achieve freedom from the pine but he then was imprisoned by Prospero for twelve years. Then, at the end of the play he was able to obtain his freedom from Prospero after Prospero achieved his plan of revenge.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work