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

In the light of this comment, discuss the [dramatic] ways in which Shakespeare presents the issue of control and authority in The Tempest.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Drama essentially has its basis in the operation and effects of control by one character or characters over others' In the light of this comment, discuss the [dramatic] ways in which Shakespeare presents the issue of control and authority in The Tempest. Shakespeare presents the issue of control and authority in a different and unique way in The Tempest, in that one character, Prospero, has absolute control over all the other characters in the play; a technique which is not used by Shakespeare in any other work. The drama, if based in the operation and effects of control, can be found where Prospero exercises his authority, which is on varying levels. He embodies the roles of ruler, master, father and colonist in the play, and controls all the other characters in these different roles. However, although Prospero provides the fundamental basis for control (and therefore drama), there is conflict and control among the other characters, for example, that of Sebastian and Antonio over Gonzalo. The first scene, in which the tempest Prospero generates takes place, is significant as it sets the ideas of authority and control and is clearly very dramatic. The shipwreck alone can be seen to symbolise the surrendering of self-control, as the Lords become helpless to the elemental forces. ...read more.

Middle

The contrast in the way Prospero treats Ariel, also suggests that he is unfair to Caliban, while he calls Ariel a 'Fine apparition! My quaint Ariel,' he refers to Caliban as 'Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself upon thy wicked dam'. Also, at the end of the play, Prospero grants Ariel his freedom while Caliban is seemingly condemned to be his perpetual slave. However, there is obviously the counter - argument that Prospero is justified in his treatment of Caliban as he tried to rape his daughter and because he conspires to kill him with Trinculo and Stephano. Whether this is valid, all depends on the idea of Prospero as a colonist. As a master, Prospero is both kind and firm. He gets angry with Ariel when he refuses to obey him and asks for his liberty, 'Dost thou forget from what a torment I did free thee?' and says 'Thou liest, malignant thing'. This suggests Ariel perhaps serves him through fear as much as through gratitude. The justification for Caliban's rebelliousness can be attributed to the idea that Prospero is a colonist who came to the island, which was rightfully Caliban's, or at least to which he was a native, and simply took over unjustly and imposed on Caliban his language and his authority, much like the British did to the South Americans around the seventeenth century. ...read more.

Conclusion

Interestingly, Prospero refers to their marriage as a contract which can be taken to mean, not just a marriage contract between the two lovers but also between Prospero and the King of Naples, as theirs is, albeit one of love, a political marriage also. Prospero will have political gain from it, and in this sense he shows himself to be a typical renaissance parent. The contrast to Ferdinand and Miranda's marriage is Claribel's marriage to the King of Tunis in Africa arranged by Alonso purely for his own advancement. This marriage was ruthless and very unpopular, as Sebastian states, 'You were kneeled to and importuned otherwise by all of us; and the fair soul herself weighed between loathness and obedience'. Claribel was clearly a victim here of patriarchal authority and values, the seventeenth century audience would have generally have empathised with Claribel's situation as arranged marriages were seen often as wrong. Prospero does not impose these on Miranda and wishes her happiness showing him as an authoritative but loving father. Shakespeare presents the issue of authority and control in many different ways, which often challenge the socially accepted traditions, like that of colonialism. Prospero is a benevolent father and ruler, but can be a cruel master. The play's elusiveness has enabled its addressing of these issues of control to be interpreted in many different ways. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Is Prospero a power obsessed tyrant or an egalitarian?

    4 star(s)

    he obviously has not been equal or fair in his actions, nor a tyrant as his methods to gain control do not included force or death. Miranda is also imprisoned by Prospero is various different ways. Miranda knows nothing of the outside world as Prospero has deliberately starved her of human knowledge.

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

    become their master when they treat him humanly and share their alcohol with him, "How does thy honour? Let me lick thy shoe. I'll not serve him, he is not valiant." He then plots to kill Prospero for how he has treated him explaining his intentions with relish, "With a

  1. Prospero and Miranda's relationship in the Tempest is a strongly bonded one.

    He says: " I'll manacle thy neck and feet together; Sea water shalt thou drink." The word "manacle" expresses to us how harshly he is going to treat Ferdinand. However, Miranda tries her very best to stand up for him: "O dear father, Make not too rash a trial of him, for He's gently and nor fearful."

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

    to murder Prospero but they will despise him less as they know that he's lonely, desperate, stupid to trust others so easily, he's been brought up as a slave and he has got a sensitive side. In Act 4 Scene 1 Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo are near Prospero's home.

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

    "Thou art inclined to sleep", here Prospero lulls his daughter and exhibits the earliest and mildest proof of his magical power in Act I Scene II. Sleep is a Shakespearean device which allows the audience to see the other individuals or groups of people talking in private, but in the context of the play, Prospero is using it as control.

  2. Show how Shakespeare has used conflict in The Tempest to explore ideas that are ...

    my fury" Prospero wants revenge on Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio for getting rid of him from his position in status and sending him away. However after scaring and punishing the nobles Prospero realises that not matter what he does to them it wont change the wrong doing of their actions towards him or the person in which they have become.

  1. William Shakespear's Tempest

    don't see with anyone else, suddenly Prospero comes caring and compassionate instead of the strict, powerful man he seems to be with everyone else. This could be because Miranda is his only daughter and he does not want to lose her as he lost his wife.

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

    After the Globe burned down, Shakespeare moved to Blackfriar's Theatre, an indoor theatre which also enhanced his transition to the quieter plays of the Romances. Built of wood, these theatres comprised three tiers of seats in a circular shape, with a stage area on one side of the circle.

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