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

Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Prospero in The Tempest.

Extracts from this document...


Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Prospero in The Tempest. Definition of good as it is in the Chambers Dictionary, 1999; "good, having suitable or desirable qualities; promoting health, welfare or happiness; virtuous; pious; benevolent; well-behaved..." Definition of evil as it is in the Chambers Dictionary, 1999; "evil, wicked or bad mischievous; very disagreeable or angry; unfortunate..." In The Tempest, one is initially confused by Shakespeare's portrayal of Prospero, which appears to reveal a man torn between his good and bad intentions. He uses magic for both benign and malignant reasons and could be interpreted as a mixture of both a good man and an evil man. The plot belongs to the world of myth and folklore. In media res Prospero, the former Duke of Milan, and his young daughter Miranda were exiled to a nameless and barren island, by Prospero's ambitious brother, Antonio. Prospero uses his time on the island to develop his skills in magic. With this magical power he is able to control the "airy spirit" Ariel, and the "savage and deformed slave" Caliban whom he keeps as servants. The title relates to these chores that Prospero makes Caliban and Ariel do as the tempest which causes the 'enemy' characters to appear on the island is fabricated by Ariel, who is under Prospero's command. Caliban, a product of a sexual union between a witch and an incubus, fascinates the audience almost immediately as their attention is drawn to his ...read more.


Also, despite Ariel's desire for freedom, he is still obedient to Prospero and he seems to take pleasure in his work: "All hail, great master, grave sir, hail! I come To answer thy best pleasure; be't to fly, To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride On the curled clouds. To thy strong bidding task Ariel, and all his quality." Throughout the play, Prospero's attitude towards Ariel is indefinite. Sometimes he seems affectionate, calling Ariel 'bird', 'chick', 'my fine spirit'. But, at other times, he calls Ariel 'moody' or 'malignant thing'. Ariel's language often expresses rapid movement and breathless excitement. There is sometimes a childlike eagerness to please in 'What shall I do? Say what? What shall I do?' as if he enjoys his chores and he is excited to do more. It is Ariel who teaches Prospero forgiveness and pity or reminds him that he has forgiveness and pity. Describing the troubles of Prospero's enemies, Ariel says that the sight of them would make Prospero feel compassion: "Ariel - ...if you now beheld them, your affections Would become tender. Prospero - Dost thou think so, spirit? Ariel - Mine would, sir, were I human. Prospero - And mine shall." Throughout the play, Prospero's art is driven by desire for revenge against those who usurped him as Duke of Milan. ...read more.


At the end of the play, where a change in Prospero is evident as he has reconciled with his enemies, he is free from the island and has resolved any anger he had, he stands in the middle of the stage, without his magic power, for the epilogue, where he proceeds to almost whisper a plea for our 'indulgence'. This is the final stage of the reformation of Prospero. This final speech illustrates Prospero as a man, devoid of any magic powers. The cast off role of magician becomes a foil against which a fragile human self is formed and defined: "Now my charms are all o'erthrown, And what strength I have's mines own - Which is most faint." To conclude, Prospero is a very angry man who manipulates his power as a magician to have slaves and perform an act of revenge. However, throughout the play, his character goes through changes and, at the end, when he is reconciled, though he has not got everybody's repentance, he finds freedom and realises that in forgiving his enemies and abandoning his own position of power, he has managed to see that he has been a slave to the purpose of revenge as much as the spirits he has commanded. Also, if at the end, he is without power and servants, he is also without anger, therefore he has fulfilled his dream. He set out to get his Dukedom of Milan back, and that he did. ...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. Power and Punishment In The Tempest

    Extract 2 - Act 4 Scene 1 In extract 2 all the power is on Prospero, deciding whether or not to punish Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban. One of the other most famous speeches in the Tempest is the one made by Prospero in the beginning of this extract.

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

    Prospero then realises what Ariel means by this but cannot feel the human feelings as his magical powers have alienated him from humanity, and appeals his spirit who has helped him perform miracles, "Dost thou think so, spirit?" His non human spirit tells him how if it were human, it would feel this way, "Mine would, sir, were I human."

  1. Is Prospero the wronged Duke of Milan, or a cruel colonial master?

    I believe that Prospero deserved to be overthrown by his brother because he did not manage his kingdom as he should have. He had given his brother a lot of power, and then told him to govern Milan without him whilst he studied magic and did not care for his position as Duke of Milan.

  2. The Tempest - Prospero character analysis - How do his actions and the attitude ...

    There is humour due to their drunkenness. Throughout the play there are two forces of magic. Sycorax, the mother of Caliban uses black magic. The colour black is associated with the dark and night. This sense of dark and evilness makes us think of the devil, and the devil is connected with witchcraft.

  1. How does Shakespeare present tension

    duo, Trinculo and Stephano who plan to kill a man they have no reason to hate. Caliban, however seems justified in his hatred towards Prospero and Miranda and the reason stems from Caliban's regret in willingly showing them everything he had learnt on the island, "fresh springs, brine-pits...

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

    Miranda's judgement is significant, because it shows other people's view on him which prepares the audience for what to expect. Caliban takes Prospero as his master. This suggests that Prospero has a higher status than him. This is demonstrated in Act 1 scene 2.

  1. " Ariel is a mischievous sprit, but is rather that one character that holds ...

    asks her ' Hast thou spirit, performed to pint the tempest that I bade thee' (act 1 scene 2 line 193-194) 'To every article ' she replies. (line 195) Then she goes on to paint a picture of a very dramatic incident, in a somewhat childlike manner, with rapid movement,

  2. 'The Tempest' is centrally concerned with the themes of control and power. How are ...

    As well as Prospero succeeding through this mortal learning process, he has always had the natural control of a father, which would have been expected by Elizabethans. The fatherly role would be to find a strong, decent husband for Miranda which he has done, by introducing Ferdinand; and to the advantage that he is of a high status.

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