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Shakespeares, The Tempest is based around a key a idea of reuniting family through what may appear to the characters as bizarre coincidence, but in fact is the outcome of witchcraft/magic.

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Introduction

Shakespeare's, "The Tempest" is based around a key a idea of reuniting family through what may appear to the characters as bizarre coincidence, but in fact is the outcome of witchcraft/magic. It is widely thought the main character (Prospero) is a transformation of the famous writer himself, William Shakespeare, as Prospero pursues his studies over his people and also is very fond of his daughter. We are first introduced to Prospero in Act I Scene II where we see his daughter Miranda questioning him about the shipwreck, here Shakespeare uses conversation as a tool to build up our first impressions of Prospero and to explain his past. My first impression is that he is quite self-centred as he tries to portray himself as a great character and role model to Miranda as is all his actions are for her benefit, "No harm. I have done nothing but in care of thee," This could also be interpreted as the role of a loving father but then Prospero goes on to tell her about her past which he has kept from her for twelve years, is this so loving? Prospero may well have been attempting to protect his daughter, or it may appear to the audience that he was purposely withholding information from her just to ensure that his plan went ahead accordingly. ...read more.

Middle

As readers we can see that this is quite hypocritical as Prospero rescued Ariel from one life of slavery and plunged him straight into another, "Dost thou forget From what torment I did free thee?" Prospero's treatment of Ariel varies as one minute he's referring to him as "malignant thing" and then the next, "My quaint Ariel," so again Prospero could be perceived as being contradictory. In Act II Scene I the idea of Prospero as a god is further progressed, when he tests Sebastian and Antonio through Ariel by providing them with the chance to kill Alonso and Gonzalo, here we see Shakespeare using similar temptation as in Macbeth. When Prospero commands Ariel to awaken the victims Shakespeare lightens the mood by putting in a witty song, written in rhyme. Although it may appear that Sebastian and Antonio are in control, we as the audience know that Prospero is the real force behind it all, testing them to a certain extent and then stopping. If we look now to Prospero's treatment of Caliban, we see that even though he is in the same position as Ariel, Caliban reacts very differently to his situation. Caliban believes that every bad thing that happens to him is down to Prospero. As an audience we can justify that Prospero is in fact innocent with regards to the pinching, scaring, annoying, misleading, chattering, biting and hissing, and we may begin to see how Shakespeare uses Caliban to show us that Prospero isn't to blame all the time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout Act IV the image of Prospero as a playwright/director is built up increasingly, he makes it clear that the fun and games are over now, it was just like a game of chess to him with the King being cornered. In line 184, Prospero again is quite contradictory when he calls Ariel, "my bird" as the "my" could either be taken as possessive again or affectionate but then birds are closely associated with freedom but also captivity. When Prospero enters in magic robes in Act V Scene I, he is carrying a staff which of course is commonly used in the bible, both to symbolise power but also to smite things. In line 52 he requests heavenly music, Gonzalo is also described as religious similar to Banquo and King Duncan, i.e. Shakespeare's "good" characters are all religious. At the end when we see Prospero set Ariel free, we see Prospero being presented as loving again, as he kept his promise and we can see that he was being truthful all along about trying to resolve everything. The common theme of Prospero as a god is more definite as he decides what is to be done and has the final words as they leave his domain, his epilogue is quite powerful in the sense that he has had victory over the situation, everything is as he had planned and now he can resume normal life. How does Shakespeare present Prospero in The Tempest? Erin Morrison 133 ...read more.

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