Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 1345 words

Is Prospero a power obsessed tyrant or an egalitarian?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Is Prospero a power obsessed tyrant or an egalitarian? The play 'The Tempest' portrays one mans fight to bring justice to those who have betrayed him in life. This character, Prospero, once the rightful duke of Milan, was overthrown by his brother, Antonio, and is now hell bent on seeking revenge. Throughout the play, there are elements of tyranny, egalitarianism and autocracy. Although these three elements are present, it is my opinion that Prospero is overall an autocrat. I will now explore the character of Prospero and show why I believe this. Prospero and his daughter Miranda where set adrift into the Mediterranean Sea after he was overthrown. Once Prospero arrived on the island, he immediately imprisoned two people, Ariel, an airy spirit, and Caliban, a monstrous creature. Ariel her self had already been imprisoned by Sycorax, an evil witch, when Prospero reached the island. When he found her, Prospero freed her but in return made her his magical slave. Although Prospero has imprisoned Ariel he is not tyrannical in his nature. He has not used force or death to manipulate her and cannot therefore be branded a tyrant. Prospero also says 'I will discharge thee', when his work has finished. If he is willing to free Ariel after her purpose is served then he is not being tyrannical in imprisoning her as a tyrant would not free one of his captives.

Middle

I believe Prospero imprisons Miranda for her own good. He has a fatherly protectiveness over her as he knows that the outside world can be hurtful. He chooses to have complete power over Miranda, like an autocrat, to protect her. The fact that Miranda says that Prospero, 'left me to a bootless inquisition', showing that Prospero has complete power over her life as he is the only person who can actually tell her who she is. 'Bootless', shows that Miranda finds the knowledge completely useless. This shows that Prospero has complete control over what he wants Miranda to know, and is being autocratic in having this power. Prospero manipulates the characters in to doing what he wants. His main method is the use of magic. Prospero conjures the tempest which eventually brings Ferdinand, Miranda's future lover, to the island. He has done this so that he can regain his kingdom by using Ferdinand as a link to the Dukedom. By using Miranda and Ferdinand in this way, Prospero is treating them like slaves, which is similar to how he treats Ariel and Caliban. By gaining complete control this way, Prospero is being autocratic, as he has used neither for nor fair means to gain this control. Prospero longs for his dukedom back, and in my opinion has the right to try and regain power.

Conclusion

A true egalitarian would have equalled the injustice put upon him. From these points, it is my opinion that Prospero can be described as an autocrat. He controls with complete power without the use of fear, murder or equality, so is therefore an autocrat. I believe that this term describes Prospero accurately. He does have complete control over the island and all the character and can therefore be described as an autocrat. Prospero says to Miranda, 'so safely ordered, that there is no soul'. Prospero tries to protect Miranda by saying that some situations are more acceptable than they really are. These are his thought and he is trying to make Miranda believe what he thinks. This shows a domineering side to Prospero as he likes everyone to abide by what he believes. He is obviously domineering towards Caliban and Ariel as well. He imprisons them both so that he can have complete control over them. Finally, he is domineering toward all the character he brings to the island as he uses his magic to gain complete control over them. This shows that he is obviously power obsessed and likes to have a complete hold over everyone. Overall, the points explore tend to disprove that Prospero is an egalitarian or a power obsessed tyrant. What I do believe is that Prospero is an autocrat obsessed with keeping everyone under his control. ?? ?? ?? ?? Gary Cummins

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

A good essay that demonstrates a good understanding of character. There needs to be further focus on language analysis, both through the use of more quotations from the text and by fully explaining how these quotes can be used to justify the interpretations that are being made.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 19/06/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Tempest essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Prospero is a powerful character. What impression does the audience get of Prospero in ...

    4 star(s)

    The audience can see that all other islanders must be wary of Prospero's supernatural dominance. Miranda and Ferdinand are immediately smitten with each other. He is only the third man Miranda has seen, besides Caliban and her father. Prospero is happy to see that his plan for his daughter's future

  2. An Analysis of the relationship between Caliban and Prospero (The Tempest)

    Prospero then used his power to imprison Caliban and makes him his servant. Prospero believed that Caliban could not relate to kindness and the only way to treat an immoral creature was to be strict and treat them in a harsh manner - "pinchings", "old cramps", and "side- stitches" These

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

    there are no teachers on the island to educate Miranda: "Have I thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit Than other princes." Because Prospero is such a great man, he has been able to give her better education than other princes.

  2. To err is human, to forgive divine.Write a 600- 1000 word essay on this ...

    Throughout this act, he seem a little bit guilty for his past actions but not wholeheartedly. People commit mistakes not only knowingly, but unknowingly at times. For example, sometimes we may act in a such manner or say something without malice nor the intention to hurt others, but said actions

  1. How does Shakespeare use language to describe Caliban?

    both show the beastly uncivilised nature of Caliban and a strong hatred on his tormentor, Prospero. Hence, the audienceâs approach to Caliban and his primitive behaviour is now inclined. Despite his savage demeanor, Caliban has a moment in this scene where the tender and noble side of him can be seen, which Prospero and Miranda do not acknowledge.

  2. Trinculo and Stephano, though not major characters in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, serve a ...

    They were enchanted by the story that Caliban told them. He said that they would become in charge of the island once Prospero was disposed of. Another display of their lack to purity comes in the speech by Trinculo on finding the resting Caliban.

  1. William Shakespear's Tempest

    Stephano and Trinculo meet Caliban and begin to plot the murder of Prospero; Prospero however doesn't see this is a major threat to his life as he doesn't act to stop them until they're outside of his cave. When he does act all he does is summon a group of

  2. How does the relationship between Prospero and Ariel change during the tempest

    I want her to completely change her voice to make it sound seducing and smooth, to show how she deceives those around her. Even the way Lady Macbeth speaks is of great control, for she talks in blank verse, iambic pentameter.

  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.