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Power and Punishment In The Tempest

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Introduction

What do these two extracts add to an audience's understanding of the theme of power and punishment in the Tempest? The main form of power we see in The Tempest is magical power. We see this theme constantly in the play, as Prospero uses his magical power to control what happens and how people act on the island. He uses his powers to get what he wants. The whole background to the storyline is that Prospero was busy learning his powers and now that people have betrayed him, Prospero is again using his powers to bring his enemies onto the island to punish them. In this story, there are also a lot of other characters trying to get themselves power for example Sebastian or Stephano. In these two extracts, we see the extent of Prospero's power. Extract 1 - Act 3 Scene 2 The character of Stephano is a very strange one. Stephano is a butler who is often drunk. He is used to serving other kings and is desperate for some power himself. ...read more.

Middle

5 people? He adds to that, that if the other two are as brainy as them the whole island collapses anyway. Ariel is Prospero's servant, he is the person whom Prospero uses all his power on. We see just how powerful Prospero is through Ariel. Ariel is Prospero's representative in the play, the one who tells us that Prospero actually knows about all his enemies' plans. Ariel appearance in this scene is a huge comedy moment in the play, when he stands behind Trinculo shouting "thou lest" . in this scene Ariel on behalf of Prospero leads the drunken trio into a slimy pit stinking of H.P. He is continually tricking the 3, firstly into believing him that Trinculo was shouting thou liest and then leading them with his incredible music. Caliban is a very different type of character to any I have ever come across before. He is annoyed with Prospero claiming that he is taking over HIS land. But when Caliban meets Trinculo and Stephano he is determined to treat Stephano like the ruler of the island like he says "let me lick thy shoe". ...read more.

Conclusion

All this makes him unsure what to do when it comes to punishing his enemies, as he says, " The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance". The second thing Prospero goes on to talk about is the actual punishment he can give the three through Ariel. He thinks about just how powerful his powers are the way he can summon Ariel by just his thoughts, as Ariel says, "thy thoughts I cleave to". Towards the end of this part of the speech, he is really uncomfortable and doesn't know whether or not to punish them. The language he uses in this section is very strange. He compares a few characters to animals, he uses similes like "Like unpacked colts" and "calf-like", bovine language. He also uses avian language to describe Ariel, when he says "my fleeting bird" The last point Prospero doesn't make it clear whether or not he is going to punish his enemies. Power and Punishment are probably the biggest parts of the tempest there is. This essay has just described two of the extracts with all the hints in them to power and punishment. ...read more.

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