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An exploration of the treatment of the theme of government by Shakespeare in the Tempest.

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AN EXPLORATION OF SHAKESPEARE'S TREATMENT OF THE THEME OF GOVERNMENT IN THE TEMPEST. BY ABUBAKAR A ABUBAKAR. In order to fully explore the treatment of the theme of government by Shakespeare in this play, one cannot escape the question: what is government? In response, government can be defined as the process of administration and management of a political unit. Reviewing the narrative context of the play, we understand Prospero to be a duke that was overthrown and exiled from his dukedom by his treacherous brother, Antonio, with the support of the King of Naples, Alonso. Prospero is presented as a very powerful figure that was once a duke but also lost the dukedom because of his decision to increase his knowledge. He innocently entrusted his brother with the task of running state affairs, without the thought of any betrayal or treachery as it happened. Antonio having mastered the art of governance and deeply engulfed with power he decided to overthrow Prospero. PROSPERO: Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since, Thy father was the Duke of Milan and A prince of power. PROSPERO: Now the conditions, This King of Naples, being an enemy To me inveterate, hearkens my brother's suit, ............... The play begins with a storm at sea, the Tempest that was caused by Prospero. ...read more.


This provides us with an insight into the nature of Antonio as a ruthless being that will stop at nothing to get what he wants. ANTONIO: ...And yet methinks I see it in thy face, What thou shouldst be. Th'occasion speaks thee, and My strong imagination sees a crown Dropping upon thy head. Furthermore in Act III, Scene I, we also see the way Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo plot to kill Prospero, and then Stephano shall afterwards make Miranda his mistress and his Queen. STEPHANO: Monster, I will kill this man. His daughter and I will become King and Queen-...... Shakespeare here highlights the nature of the society in the sense that these three characters represent different aspects of the society; Stephano appears to represent the part of the society that if given the opportunity as leaders they are going to mislead the people, he is an example of a bad leader considering the way he harbours the likes of Caliban whom we can consider a sycophant. Trinculo is depicted as the part of society that is na�ve and willing to follow whoever that proclaims himself as the leader without due consideration of the legitimacy of the claim and its values as a government in place. Caliban is presented to us as that part of the society that can easily be misled, making reference to the fact that ...read more.


the beginning of The Tempest until this very moment of his triumph when he tells the very people that betrayed him he has forgiven them, most especially his brother Antonio. PROSPERO: No For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother Would even infect my mouth, I do forgive Thy rankest fault; all of them; and require My dukedom of thee, perforce, I know Thou must restore. We are aware of Prospero's righteous nature as a leader because of the mercy he has shown to these people that betrayed him as the above quotation will show; he is quite aware of the fact that these people are at his mercy but he has chosen to forgive them all and he further states the only consequence Antonio shall face is to return his dukedom to him which in any case we can consider as nothing since the dukedom rightfully belong to Prospero. Shakespeare's overall message in 'The Tempest' is none other than the fact that a good government is that which has a mutual understating between both the ruler and the ruled, and the government in place takes charge of all the affairs in the state either good or bad. The government also needs to plan for the next generation with thought of leaving a good legacy and a better society than they met. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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