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Resolutions of Forgiveness, Repentance and Reconciliation in Shakespeare's The Tempest

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Stephen Orgel, in the Oxford World Classics Introduction of The Tempest, says that the resolutions of forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation through the harmony of marriage that Prospero has undertaken to achieve are not completely met. This is true as not all injuries are forgiven, and certain characters fail to repent for their wrongs. The marriage does not completely achieve its role of reconciliation, as we have to question its origins and stability.

In The Tempest Prospero has orchestrated events in such a way as to resolve the injustices and injuries that have occurred to him and his daughter, Miranda. As the play progresses more injuries occur. Antonio and Sebastian plot to kill Alonso and Gonzales, so that Sebastian can become Duke of Naples, Prospero intervenes and prevents the assasination. Caliban, Ferdinand and Stephono plan to assassinate Prospero in order to gain control over the island, however Prospero thwarts their attempt. There are other injustices in the play, however Prospero does not seek to resolve these. This is because the idea of justice in the play is highly subjective. Prospero controls the fate of all the other characters. He is the ultimate justice server in the play. His idea of justice is therefore one-sided. He therefore fails to see or attempt to resolve his own injustices, that of his ill-treatment of Ariel and Caliban, both who have ultimately been enslaved by Prospero. He also fails to see the immorality in controling other people with the use of magic.

Prospero's main aim for the orchestrations on the island is to regain his dukedom, forgive those who did him any injustice, to have those people repent, and to create reconciliation amoungst them with the mariage of Miranda and Ferdin...


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...solution Prospero creates saves Alonso his throne, keeping the legitimate ruler of naples in power. We can come to the conclusion that Caliban is left on the Island, therefore the Island has falled back to its legitimate ruler, Caliban. The end of the play resolves the theme of virtue. Caliban a 'demi-devil' is able to repent for his injustices and seek to improve himself, whereas Antonio, a man of nobility, in incapable of feeling remorse and refuses to repent. This leaves us with the question of 'who is the true monster?' The theme of magic is resolved with Prospero declaiming his art, as he realises that to be a good Duke his attention needs to be on his responsibilities, and not studieng the art of magic. We are also led to wonder if his use of magic was so bad, as it did lead to the reconsiliation, repentance and forgiveness that occurs at the end of the play.


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