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Explore the presentation of authority and inferiority in The Tempest.

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Explore the presentation of authority and inferiority in The Tempest The presentation of authority and inferiority is displayed in many different ways throughout, 'The Tempest'. Authority is presented as being based on a variety of features. For example, social status, knowledge and magic all figure prominently. The balance of powers shifts quickly as authority is displayed in a complex manner. It refers to being powerful and conveys the traits of the characters. The authority is unbalanced and doesn't have as much of an affect, as it should do. In the Tempest there is a discord between those in authority and those in inferiority. Take in context the Boatswain, he doesn't show any deference to the noblemen: "Do you not hear him? You mar our labour. Keep your cabins!" Here the punctuation indicates that the Boatswains tone is inappropriate. The use of the exclamation mark indicates that he is shouting abruptly at a person of higher social rank. It is inappropriate to talk to people with higher authority. Also, he asks Antonio a rhetorical question, which doesn't need an answer. This emphasizes further inappropriateness tone, which suggests that authority is easily lost and unstable. The boatswain shows signs of disrespect to characters with social authority by saying; 'You mar our labour' the manner is quite abrupt and rude in the sense that he blatantly doesn't show any respect at all for the courtiers. ...read more.


We know this as Prosper once saved Ariel's life and Ariel now has to correspond with the master to be liberated. "Is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains, Let me remember thee what thou promised, Which is not yet performed me" As you can see, Ariel asks a rhetorical question which doesn't need answering, as he already knows the answer to it. In addition, the vocabulary advocates that he is tired of doing errands for Prospero. Also he reminds him of his promise, which shows how desperate he is for his liberation. The punctuation has use of commas that try to persuade him by saying, "Let me remember thee.." this conveys us that he is trying to remind Prospero his promise and emphasizes his aspirations of being free, by reminding him "what thou promised." Therefore Ariel knows in the long run his reward will come for doing various errands for the master. However, authority is based on knowledge it is the quintessential element of power. Prospero is the ideal character with knowledge and shows this throughout The Tempest. He is the antagonist with immense amount of power various amount of power from persuasion, magic and knowledge from books. An example of this is: "If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak, And peg thee in his knotty entrails, till Thou has howled away twelve winters." ...read more.


Here we can see that there is a lot of punctuation used, the semi-colons link the ideas together she wants to help but is told not too. She tries to use persuasion but as she hasn't much knowledge she is told to follow rules, ever since she was born. In addition, the tone is passive and weak - she is helpless and cannot do what she wishes. Miranda is portrayed as an enthusiastic character but with insufficient knowledge and this becomes her downfall and makes her inferior. In conclusion the presentation of authority shows that in order to have authority and stabilise it you need to have knowledge and power to do so. Prospero is a perfect example as he shows he has immense amounts of authority by having magic and knowledge from books. However, authority is also illustrated as being unequal the King, being on top of the social hierarchy - doesn't show any authority and if he tries it is dismissed. On the other hand inferiority is subjective - as some people have accepted that they are inferior for example Caliban. However Ariel accepts this as he is going to get something out of it, freedom. I don't think you need to be on top of a social hierarchy to have authority you can gain it. Tarun Avasthy Mr. Poole ...read more.

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