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Character study of Prospero

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Introduction

"Prospero" In act 1 we learn that Prospero is a very complex character with many different aspects to his presentation. The first and probably the most obvious aspect to his character is that of the magician. Some critics argue that the 4 main characters on the Island can be said to represent different attributes to humanity: Caliban represents instinct, Miranda represents love, Ariel represents spirit and Prospero represents power. Prospero's incredible magical powers contribute to this interpretation of his character. His character is also interpreted as being like a puppet-master. I think this is an appropriate image of Prospero as he uses his incredible powers to rule over people, influencing and controlling them with his magic for his own personal purposes. He controls Caliban with threats and acts of physical violence saying: " Tonight thou shalt have cramps, side stitches that shall pen thy breath up." This shows Prospero's puppet-master side using his incredible power to control people and making them afraid of them. The author also uses the rule of three to show the extent of Prospero's threats towards Caliban. He also controls Miranda, this time though he does not resort to physical pain or violence he puts a spell on her instead. He says, " Thou art inclined to sleep" This again shows his incredible power he possesses as a magician being able to control people's actions easily as a puppet-master would his puppets. I believe he does this to show off and feed his ego. Also he does this to suit his personal interests. In this way Prospero often abuses his power. A good example of this is when he stops Ferdinand drawing his sword, testing his power. ...read more.

Middle

He believes he is great, powerful and perhaps better than many other people. A good example of Prospero's arrogance is when he talks about his position: "And Prospero the prime duke, being so reputed In dignity, and for the liberal arts Without a parallel." The way in which Prospero keeps repeating his suggests that he is very arrogant. But this is very human and perhaps Prospero is just proud of what he has achieved. Another example of Prospero's is shown when he says "Alas poor Milan." He is shown to be very arrogant as he feels that the city can't be without him as their leader. His pauses that are caused by the writer who uses commas to create a dramatic caesura, emphasises his upset, which may suggest his arrogance even more so. Prospero at times is quite single minded or self-absorbed. An example of this is when he says: "And to my state grew stronger, being transported And rapt in secret studies." This shows that Prospero is self-obsessed. He is described as a stranger to his state and it says "rapt" in his secret studies. Which in my opinion is a little irresponsible. As he is so obsessed in his secret studies it gives his brother the chance to overthrow him. Another example that shows Prospero's irresponsibility is when it says he was "neglecting worldly ends." This shows he is placing his personal interests over his public responsibilities. He notices this, showing how irresponsible he is as he does nothing about this. He says "I loved my books...above my dukedom." I believe this shows he is extremely irresponsible. Being so wrapped up in his studies gives his brother the chance to overthrow him. ...read more.

Conclusion

The first negative aspect is that Prospero uses pain to control Caliban. An example of this is "If thou neglec'st...thy din." This shows the amount of pain that Prospero is causing as you would have to be in a huge amount of pain to make this level of noise. This also shows the level of pain Prospero is willing to cause to get his own way. He rules Caliban through Caliban's fear which is Prospero's final negative aspect. Caliban's fear is seen when he says: " I must obey. His art is of such power, It would control my dams god, Setebos, And make a vassal of him." This shows how much Caliban fears Prospero he says that his power is such that it would "control my dam's god." This shows that Caliban believes that Prospero is so powerful that he could even control his god, Setebos. On the whole I believe that Prospero is a hugely mixed character. I believe Prospero is very human in some ways. His human attributes mainly being seen in the aspects "The man" and also "The father" this is probably Prospero's weakest side. It shows him to be foolish and weak. But away from his human side Prospero is seen to be extremely powerful. This side of his character is seen in the aspects "The magician" and also "Thee master of slaves." Despite having many negative aspects I believe that Prospero is not completely negative. When it comes to the aspect of "The father" I believe he is just overprotective. Also as "The man" I believe that he is just very human and made mistakes. All together I believe that Shakespeare has managed to create an extremely real character in Prospero. He is not entirely perfect but tries hard in everything he does but makes mistakes. ...read more.

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