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The Tempest Prospero as a contrasting, multi-faceted character (analysis)

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Introduction

Q- In Shakespeare's "The Tempest", Prospero has been represented variously as a good, caring man or as a manipulating, devious "puppeteer". Compare and contrast how he has been represented and make your conclusion as to what kind of character Prospero actually is. A-Prospero, the protagonist of Shakespeare's "Tempest", has been variously presented as a kind, wise man as well as an uncaring, power hungry tyrant. A very real and multifaceted character with plenty of grey shades, Prospero has been seen as some as a manifestation of the play writer himself. I believe that, although Prospero has his faults, all his seemingly callous actions are directed towards a happy ending for every one. The best side of his personality is reserved for his daughter, Miranda. Though he is, at times, domineering towards her - ("Hence! Hang not on my garments!") - he loves her deeply. ...read more.

Middle

He subjects them to mental torture by conjuring a violent tempest, leading them to believe they are ship wrecked. He is portrayed as a master puppeteer manipulating his puppets as he watches the company blunder about the island. But however sinister his attitude was, the fact remained that Prospero instructed Ariel to keep them 'unharmed'. His frequent praise of Gonzalo, 'honest old lord' shows the audience that he does not really intend any malice. He did not want to use physical violence, even though it could be justified by the cruel actions of Antonio. Even though Antonio is a thoroughly 'bad' character, Prospero's lack of violence redeems him to the audience. At the end of the play, Prospero forgives all his misdeed that had taken place and it is this forgiveness that labels him as a kind wise man. The only time Prospero shows a truly ugly side to his character is when he deals with Caliban. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is understandably angry: she is the key to a plan he has waited twelve years to operate and it is an opportunity not be given again. Prospero is a man who is multi-faceted and perhaps that is why he is so human. Though he has shades of grey, he is essentially a good man, who has been usurped of his dukedom. Shakespeare realised that Prospero was dealing with great evil, and could not afford to be too good and therefore na�ve. He had to be written as a firm, stern man who knew what he wanted and how to achieve it. Prospero may have manipulated his daughter, but only to restore her future and her status. He is callous to Ariel, but promises to set it free. He leads the company all over the island, but reunites them in the end. 'All's well that ends well' and Prospero delivers, restoring his dukedom, marrying the lovers and ensuring happy endings. ...read more.

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