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Presentation of Prospero in the Tempest

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Introduction

WHAT DO YOU FIND INTERESTING ABOUT THE PRESENTATION OF PROSPERO IN THE TEMPEST? The Tempest is a play about a shipwreck, which was orchestrated by Prospero. His intention was to get revenge on his brother Antonio, who cast Prospero and Miranda out on a ship several years ago. In an act of revenge, Prospero is able to use his power through Ariel to bring his enemies to the island, carrying out a series of acts that play a significant part in determining the outcome at the end of the play. Prospero is clearly the protagonist of the play as he is key to many situations and plays an integral part in the relationships between everyone on the island. Shakespeare presents several aspects of his character through the roles and trials he undergoes throughout different situations in the play. We are aware that Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan, immediately revealing his powerful and authoritarian position. "Thy father was the Duke of Milan and A prince of power." Through this, Shakespeare is able to bring out several of Prospero's characteristics, including his authoritarianism and power. As a powerful figure, it is clear how Prospero has been able to take control over the island, just like he was in control whilst he was Duke of Milan. Prospero symbolizes colonial power in the play, as by treating the island as a colony, he takes over the native Caliban and becomes ruler of the island. As we see in the play, Prospero is able to have possession of the island. By presenting Prospero as a powerful figure, Shakespeare shows the reader an important character, and from his speech to Miranda, we get the impression that the character of Prospero is somewhat pretentious and self-indulgent. ...read more.

Middle

We are able to see that Prospero resents Caliban's presence, and his attitude towards him is strict and reserved. The dislike and authority is further emphasised when Prospero says: "What ho, slave! Caliban, Thou earth, thou: speak!" Prospero's language towards Caliban is degrading and low as it is associated with earth, creating an image of Caliban as an animal-like figure and also portraying the social hierarchy at which Prospero is at the top and Caliban is at the bottom. The chain of being is made up of God, king, man, woman, beast, where Caliban represents the beast. Prospero's use of magic can give him God-like features and his overall power gives him the status of a king. The use of imperatives reinforces that fact that Prospero is in control. Prospero's harsh treatment towards Caliban causes a resentful reaction. "This island's mine by Sycorax, my mother, Which thou tak'st from me" The accusatory bitter tone suggests that Prospero has wrongly taken away Caliban's home. The possessive pronoun used by Caliban accentuates that the island belonged to him, furthermore presenting Prospero in a bad light. Here Shakespeare presents Prospero as a tyrant who is seen to be unjustly dominating Caliban. This presentation causes dislike to arise from the reader, as we are able to see a harsh, dictator in the character of Prospero. However, after learning about what Caliban did, our view of, and feelings towards, Prospero soften. "Thou most lying slave, Whom stripes may move, not kindness; I have used thee (Filth as thou art) with humane care and lodged thee In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate The honour of my child" In this case we see Prospero as a wise leader who is able to use authority in a justifiable way to teach Caliban a moral lesson. ...read more.

Conclusion

Prospero is a metaphor of an author creating a story. This can be seen by the audience for the reason that, by being constantly in control of almost every scene of the play; Prospero is truly in charge of the action. Not only is he dominating the events, but it is mainly his view and insight that is audience is able to see. For example, Prospero's sense of injustice is revealed to the audience, causing the audience to see things from Prospero's point of view. Prospero's character can be seen to be mirroring Shakespeare's role, as he is manipulating the action and is able to bring about the happy ending. Shakespeare deliberately reveals a great deal about Prospero, more so than any of the other characters, in order to allow us to fully witness the changes in his personality. One of the most interesting changes in the play is the transformation of his character, from his bold use of magic as a means of getting back at the people who betrayed him, to releasing the power gained by magic and replacing his need for revenge with the greater and nobler deed of being able to forgive everyone. "Though with their high wrongs I am struck to th'quick, Yet with my nobler reasons 'gainst my fury Do I take part. The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance." A great deal occurs in the play and the most intricate changes take place within the character of Prospero, and it is for this reason that the presentation of Prospero becomes interesting. By the end of the play, Prospero's priorities have changed. This is shown by the renunciation of magic and through this Shakespeare is able to present Prospero as a weaker but more commendable figure, generating sympathy and respect from the audience. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hassana Afzal 1 ...read more.

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