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Prospero is a powerful character. What impression does the audience get of Prospero in Act 1, Scene 2?

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Prospero is a powerful character. What impression does the audience get of Prospero in Act 1, Scene 2? Prospero throughout the entire play has the power over everyone on the island. He maintains this power through the use of his magic and thus gains supremacy over the natural world. He also has a parental authority over his daughter, and this is illustrated in Act 1, Scene 2 when he tells her about how they came to be on the island. Prospero also has control over Ariel, due to his magical powers and also due to the fact that Ariel feels indebted to him for rescuing him. Prospero's authority could lead the audience to see him as a dictator. However, it is important to analyse Prospero's power to gain a balanced view of what the audience would conclude. At the beginning of Act 1, Scene 2 we find Miranda and Prospero on the shore of their island, looking out to sea at the recent shipwreck. Miranda asks her father to do anything he can to help the poor souls in the ship. Prospero speaks gently saying, "tell your piteous heart there's no harm done", and then assures her that everything is all right and that he has done "nothing but in care of thee". ...read more.


The witch died and left Ariel trapped until Prospero freed him. He threatens to put Ariel back in the tree that he rescued him from if he does not follow his orders. This is one example of Prospero using his powers to gain authority. After Ariel assures him that he knows his place, Prospero orders Ariel to take the shape of a sea nymph and make himself invisible to all but Prospero. He has a great amount of power over Ariel, and the audience will be able to see this by the way that Ariel obeys and carries out his every command. Once Miranda awakens from her sleep, she and Prospero visit Caliban, who is another of Prospero's servants. Caliban is the son of the now deceased witch Sycorax, and acquainted Prospero when he arrived, showing him "all the qualities o'th'isle". Caliban believes the island to be rightfully his, saying, "this island's mine by Sycorax, my mother", and has been stolen by Prospero. His speech and behaviour are sometimes coarse and brutal; for example, "the red plague rid you for learning me your language", and sometimes eloquent and sensitive, as in other rebukes of Prospero. ...read more.


The fact that he achieves these aims illustrates to the audience that has a great deal of jurisdiction. On the whole, Act 1, Scene 2 portrays instances of authority in different forms and in discussing how this notion is portrayed, one can evaluate Shakespeare's portrayal of power and challenges to it. The play does not really make a statement regarding power and authority, but it seeks to re-establish a just social order around Prospero's re-emergence as a figure of political power. The Scene explores the dynamics of power relationships from a number of contrasting angles. These different angles include the generally positive relationships between Prospero and Ariel and Prospero and Miranda, and the contrasting, generally negative relationship between Prospero and Caliban. Prospero is constantly portrayed as having authority due to his supernatural powers, be it over Ariel, Caliban or Ferdinand, but also has authority as a father over Miranda. Additionally, the fact that Prospero is able to manipulate the situation between Ferdinand and Miranda accentuates his control. His authority is never really threatened in the first Act, although Caliban does argue with him. This illustrates to the audience that he is the dictator of the island. He is in control of everything that goes on. However, this would more than likely be different if it wasn't for his magical powers. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chris Miller 1 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a solid essay that considers Shakespeare's language choices and character development. Even when looking at a key scene it should be linked to other points in the play to show a breadth of understanding of the whole play.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 19/06/2013

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