• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'An exploration of the ways in which Shakespeare presents the theme of ambition, linked to at least three scenes in the Tempest.

Extracts from this document...


'An exploration of the ways in which Shakespeare presents the theme of ambition, linked to at least three scenes in the Tempest. Ambition: a 'cherished desire'...a 'strong drive for success.' Ambition is not the same as happiness, and happiness is not the ultimate goal in The Tempest. For Prospero, his ultimate ambition is to become Duke of Milan again after being usurped by his brother Antonio. Ambition should be directed towards a concept of duty and selflessness, yet once becoming ruler of the island, Prospero takes advantage of his authoritative status over the inhabitants. However, it could be argued that Prosperos' authority is threatened by Caliban. He is well aware that Caliban is the rightful ruler of the island yet Prospero has something Caliban does not - the power of knowledge. This "magic" allows Prospero to imprison Caliban and to use him as a slave. Prospero, whilst telling Miranda how they came upon the island does so using very balanced speech, "...in care of thee, of thee my dear one..." Almost as if he had rehearsed this speech, the repetition, the balanced wording and the pauses, orchestrated by the use of commas, which supports this theory that he knew exactly what he was going to say, he simply wasn't having a spontaneous conversation. ...read more.


It is obvious to the reader that Caliban is the only character who sees the island for its natural beauty; he speaks in appreciative poetry and uses repetitive imagery of the surrounding habitat showing that he understands its true splendour, "the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not...and then, in dreaming, the clouds methought would open, and show riches ready to drop upon me, that when I waked I cried to dream again." Caliban's ambitions are simple ones, no hidden agendas or deceiving thoughts, and contrast greatly to the likes of Trinculo and Stephano for instance. Trinculo and Stephano immediately think of profiting out of Caliban when they first meet him, "...he smells like a fish...were I in England, not a holiday fool there would give a piece of silver." "If I can recover him and keep him tame, he's a present for any Emperor." This shows that they do not think of Caliban as a human being, simply a means to make a profit. They wish to exhibit this strange new creature or sell him off - both are corrupt thoughts. ...read more.


However, Shakespeare shows how ambition itself cannot keep a man alive by Prospero producing a feast and then taking it away, "' enter several strange shapes, bringing in a banquet... "since they have left their viands behind, for we have stomachs"...and with a quaint device the banquet vanishes.'" Ambition cannot feed a man, which is one of the reasons Caliban is nobler than some of the other characters on the island. He is incapable of deceit in the sense that he says what he feels and wants, whereas Antonio is far more devious. Antonio seems to be ambitious for the sake of ambition. As Gonzalo says: 'you would lift the moon out of her sphere if she would continue in it for five weeks without changing," emphasising the fact that he would do something to destroy it, simply for the sake of doing so. In conclusion, the audience leave the play with the idea that order had been restored in the way that is just. It also shows that people like Antonio for instance; need to be controlled with laws - laws made by a character like Prospero. It also hints on the idea that fate and the Gods will succeed in making sure that laws are followed through, for example reclaiming birth rights which is essential to bring the world under order. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Tempest section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Tempest essays

  1. In what ways does Prospero use (and abuse) his power? Has he learned anything ...

    He shows Prospero how magic has disrupted and deluded him, making him almost inhuman. He persuades Prospero to feel sorry for Gonzalo and his company by saying, "His tears runs down his beard like winter's drops from eaves of reeds."

  2. The Change in Prospero's Character.

    This warrants Shakespeare with the ability to engender a poignant and heart-rending dialogue, in which Prospero sees irrevocably, the superfluous concept of dictating people through magic; "Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling Of their afflictions, and shall not myself, One of their kind, that relish all

  1. How does Shakespeare present tension

    cursed be that I did so", for Prospero used this knowledge to take over the Island and enslave Caliban for minor jobs, "serves in offices that profit us".

  2. Shakespeare has made Caliban the most violent and savage character, but has also given ...

    This however gives a tiny glimpse that suggests that she considered him to be a human. Although Caliban is seen as a misformed beast, he is very aware of Prospero's weakness although he is the all knowing and seeing one.

  1. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Caliban in The Tempest. How far do you accept that ...

    Caliban's main speech in this scene is "I must eat my dinner. This island's mine by Sycorax, my mother, which thou tak'st from me. When thou cam'st first thou strok'st me and made much of me; wouldst give me water with berries in't, and teach me how to name the

  2. How does Shakespeare present the falling in love of Ferdinand and Miranda in a ...

    This presents Miranda as a humble character, and therefore more admirable in a sense. The romantic atmosphere is emphasised through the emotions of the couple at the time of Ferdinand's tasks and arduous labour. He says that through Miranda's presence she 'makes my labours pleasures', furthermore he takes comfort in Miranda's distressed reaction, and 'my sweet mistress weeps'.

  1. The Tempest Written By William Shakespeare - How does the opening scene capture the ...

    While Shakespeare's plays appealed to all levels of society and included familiar story lines and themes. The language Shakespeare uses in the play contributes to the shortness of the play. It is compressed and dense, often in irregular rhythm or word order, and with different verb tenses used in the same sentence.

  2. "The Tempest is full of magic and illusion. Consider the effect this would have ...

    They would know the names of the gods and what they stood for. Before the masque, Ariel appeared as a harpy to Alonso and his friends. A harpy was part of ancient mythology. A 17th century audience would take the events in The Tempest as gospel.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work