The Relationship Between Miranda and Prospero in The Tempest


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The Relationship Between Miranda and Prospero in The Tempest
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Act one scene two opens with Miranda and Prospero standing on an
island, after having just witnessed a shipwreck. Right from the first
line we can establish the relationship between Miranda and Prospero,
"My dearest father" (line 1.) As the scene commences, we begin to
learn a great deal about the two roles.

Miranda opens the scene as she questions her father about the huge
storm. "you have put the wild waters in this roar" (line 2.) Miranda
presumes that her father was capable of the "tempest" and therefore
this portrays that she does not have much trust for him. Miranda's
kindness and innocence is portray heart" (line 8/9) and this contrasts
to her father who is not as concerned as she is "Tell your piteous
heart there's no harm done" (line 14.)

Prospero's power and control over Miranda is something that really
stands out, "obey and be attentive" (line 38) and it is clear that she
respects him, "my dearestfather" (line 1.) At first one may presume
that Prospero is an evil man for causing the tempest, but I feel that
he loves Miranda very much and would do anything to protect her. "I
have done nothing but in care of thee - of thee my dear one" (line
16/17.) He decides that it is time for him to teach Miranda about her
past. This is very effective because not only do the audience learn
about the reasons for the tempest, but we also learn about Miranda and

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Prospero's history and their relationship together. It has taken
Prospero many years to finally explain to Miranda what actually
happened in the past. This may well be down to a lack of
communication, or because he simply felt she was not old enough to
understand.

When telling this story, Prospero is very forceful and controlling,
ordering her to "sit down" and listen. In some parts, Shakespeare
writes in the third person, almost as if someone was telling Miranda
about her father, as if it were her story. In some aspects this is
more effective as it would make her listen and understand the story
more. "Thy father was the Duke of Milan and a prince of power"

When Prospero is telling Miranda the story about their past, he uses
very bleak and powerful language, "In the dark backward and abysm of
time?" (line 50.) Prospero goes into great depth in describing
Prospero's brother and how he overthrew him. This is because Prospero
wants to make sure that Miranda understands everything that he went
through, and why he wants his revenge on his brother. Prospero also
asks many times if Miranda is listening. "Dost thou attend me?" (line
78) and "Dost thou hear?" (line 106.) This is once again to make sure
that Miranda fully understands everything that is going on and to
check that she is taking it all in. This use of repetition once again
portrays Prospero's control over Miranda and that he is almost
obsessive with the past events.

Miranda's language is very melodramatic and shocking as she hears
about her past and the hell that her father went through. "Oh the
heavens" (line 116) Miranda feels that she was a burden to her father
and feels awful. "Alack, what trouble I was then to you" (line 152.)
However Prospero's reply is somewhat unexpected. We begin to see a
gentler, softer side to Prospero, "O, a cherubin thou wast that did
preserve me." Prospero's story brings the two closer together because
Miranda realises everything her father has done for her over the past
ten years, for example he taught her with the books that Gonzalo put
on the boat. "Have I, thy schoolmaster" (line 172.)

There is a contrast in Prospero's language as he talks about Miranda,
and when he talks about his brother, for example, he uses vocabulary
like "heaven" and " thou didst smile" (line 153/4) when he talks to
Miranda. When he talks about his brother, he calls him "perfidious,"
and "false," and casts him as a villain. This closeness shown between
the two helps us to establish that they have a good, intimate
relationship.

In this scene there are a few stage directions in significant places
to emphasise certain parts. An example of this is on 32, when Prospero
orders Miranda to sit, "Sit down for thou must know farther." The
stage direction then says "[Miranda sits]". This proves that Miranda
respects her father and that she will do what he tells her to do. This
also shows that he has a higher status than her as she is seated and
he is in control of the situation. However, on line 152, Prospero
joins his daughter seated as he speaks in a softer way, explaining how
her smile kept him going. This means that they have equal status and
that he does not feel as superior as before. Prospero then stands
again on line 169 as he finishes off the story.

Shakespeare uses very effective language and imagery to portray to the
audience the close relationship between Miranda and Prospero. In
particular it is clear that Prospero has a lot of control over his
daughter and that she respects him very much. This is shown by his
authoritative language and the stage directions, helping to show the
character's status on stage. In the beginning of the scene Prospero
may be conveyed as a malicious villain, who caused the tempest, but as
the scene commences, we begin to see a softer side to Prospero as he
talks to Miranda. This shows that Miranda brings out the pleasant side
of Prospero, and it is clear that he cares about his daughter very
much. Shakespeare uses appropriate vocabulary to describe the history
of the past events, and the other characters involved, for example the
"perfidious" brother Antonio. This therefore helps the audience to
understand what a good father Prospero is to Miranda when he went
through such tough conditions.


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