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HOW DOES SHAKESPEARE INTRODUCE ARIEL? LOOK CLOSELY AT LANGUAGE AND COMMENT ON WHAT THE PASSAGE SUGGESTS ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PROSPERO AND ARIEL IN THE PLAY. Ariel is a spirit of the air who, because he refused to serve the witch, Sycorax, was imprisoned in a tree until rescued by Prospero. Ariel willingly carries out Prospero's wishes because he is eager to be free. Although he wants his freedom in exchange, Ariel approaches his tasks with enthusiasm, quickly doing what is asked and promptly reporting any activities that he observes. Early in the play, Ariel reports the plot to murder Prospero, and later, he assists in punishing Prospero's enemies. Ariel's obedience is an important symbol of Prospero's humanity, because he improves Prospero's role on the island and humanizes the action that Prospero takes against his old opponents. Finally, Ariel's willing obedience of Prospero's wishes stands in stark contrast to Caliban's cursing and plotting against the same master. Ariel and Caliban can both be viewed as the "colonized subjects" of Prospero, and the differing attitudes of these subjects towards their master is suggestive of the differing ways in which human nature responds to modern civilization. ...read more.


Whereas Ariel greets Prospero with an affirmation of his greatness, Caliban greets him with a curse: "As wicked dew as e'er my mother brushed With raven's feather from unwholesome fen Drop on you both! A south-west blow on ye And blister you all o'er! It is all within the human psychology to know that if one does his work as a slave, he will be freed earlier because of credit. Caliban definitely doesn't take notice of this, whereas Ariel does, obeying his master at all times, portraying to the audience the strong relationship Ariel likes to preserve with Prospero. Prospero continues to ask Ariel if he has carried out his work by saying "Hast thou, spirit, Perform'd to point the tempest that I bade thee?" This is also the first point at which we are made aware that Prospero had given the task to Ariel to afflict the boat, on which the robbers of his dukedom, sailed. The word 'tempest' here is also the first case of it in the play, which is somewhat outstanding to an audience, because this word is also the title of the play. ...read more.


In this extract, Ariel finishes off by saying "Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs in an odd angle of the isle, and sitting, his arms in this sad knot." These words propose a lightness about Ariel's speech, and with this floaty speech, one can imagine him physically waving his arms in a godly and mystical way. This is the way in which Ariel is introduced to the entire play, and Shakespeare did so correctly, by making a significant contrast between Prospero's two servants. Especially in the relationship between Prospero and Caliban, one sees the destructive force that exerts itself when a human being takes it upon himself to control another. Shakespeare's word play in naming his characters emphasizes this idea. In the same way that Caliban's name can be rearranged as "Canibal," the letters in Prospero's name are a metathesis for "Oppresor." This can hardly be seen as coincidence, for in the relationship between the two, one is able to distinguish that Prospero wields his intelligence and modernity as oppressive forces. ?? ?? ?? ?? Mikey Holder 04/07/2007 The Tempest - 1 - ...read more.

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