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Essay on Prospero

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Darren Marsh 10B Essay on Prospero William Shakespeare's last play The Tempest is a story about Prospero, the rightful duke of Milan. He is betrayed by his brother Antonio and left on a ship with his daughter Miranda to die. Only things are not going according to plan and Prospero and Miranda arrive on an island. Prospero is seeking his revenge. Coming back from a wedding in Africa a ship containing Prospero's enemies is attacked by a tempest and scatters its passengers about the island. Prospero uses three major character traits throughout the story including being powerful, protective and forgiving that will help him gain his place back in Milan. Prospero lost his dukedom because he failed to recognise his brother's ambition and because he neglected his first duty, the governing of Milan. Prospero's name is an indication of his function in the play. It is Latin for 'I cause to make prosperous, happy and successful'. He plays the most significant role in the play in that he is on the stage longer than any other character and he controls the fate of all others on the island. ...read more.


Shakespeare clearly wants us to see this as good and necessary action. Magic has set Prospero above human hierarchy, it has almost made him into a God. This is no more a natural or appropriate position for Prospero than a place as a member of Prospero's family was for Caliban. A harsh side to his character is revealed in his dealings with his two slaves, Ariel and Caliban. Both are kept in his service under threat of painful punishment and although he feels love for Ariel, Caliban is treated with severe contempt. Prospero feels that the only way Caliban can be controlled is by violence, "whom stripes may move, not kindness". He treats Miranda in two ways and whether he treats her with care and affection is debateable. For example, he tells Miranda that "I have done nothing but in care of thee" although it was his behaviour that caused Miranda's fate in the first place. On the whole Prospero seems to love Ariel: "do you love me master? ...read more.


An example of this is when he says to Caliban "As you look to have my pardon trim it handsomely." Prospero forgives Caliban even though he tries to rape Miranda, turns against Prospero, and tries to kill him. This was especially hurtful, because Prospero raises Caliban like a son. This was probably not as hurtful as the betrayal of Prospero's brother, Antonio. Antonio was the one who casts Miranda and Prospero out on a ship to die. Only they end up on an island for twelve years. Still Prospero forgives Antonio when he says "for you most wicked sir, whom to call brother would even infect my mouth I do forgive thy fault all of them." This shows that Prospero is a very forgiving man. Without being powerful, caring, and forgiving Prospero might not have ever escaped off of the island. Even though he must sacrifice his magic, his daughter's happiness is more important then his revenge. So he forgives his enemies. In the end Ariel is set free, Prospero regains his dukedom, Miranda and Ferdinand are getting married and everyone except Caliban got on the boatswains ship and headed home. ...read more.

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