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Character of Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest

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Tempest Character Analysis       


William Shakespeare's last play The Tempest is a story about Prospero (the rightful duke of Milan). He is betrayed by his brother Antonio and left on a ship with his daughter Miranda to die. Only things are not going according to plan and Prospero and Miranda arrive on an island. Prospero is seeking his revenge. Coming back from a wedding in Africa a ship containing Prosperos enemies is attacked by the tempest and scatters its passengers about the island. Prospero exhibits three major character traits: forcefulness, protectiveness and forgiveness.

Prospero is a very powerful person and using his spell books he is able to conjure up some mighty magic. Possibly the most powerful thing he controls is Ariel (a spirit). An example of this is when Prospero says "Hast thou, spirit, Preformed to point, the tempest I bade thee".(718) Ariel had the power to create a great sea storm and Prospero had the power to control Ariel which gave him great power. Another reason why Prospero is powerful is because of his knowledge of Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculos plot to kill the king. So when Prospero reclaims his place in Milan again he'll have some mighty blackmail just incase he needs any favors or they try any thing stupid. This way they'll think twice before going against Prospero. Especially considering that Miranda will become queen. These are the reasons why Prospero is powerful.

Prospero is protective of those who are close to him especially Miranda. Throughout The Tempest Prospero slowly makes sure Ferdinands and Mirandas love wont faid quickly. Prospero even called Ferdinand a traitor just to make Miranda seem harder to get. This way the couple wouldn't become a lost cause. When Prospero says "They are both in either's powers. But this swift business I must uneasy make lest too light winning make the prize light" (726) he is revealing his true plan to Ariel that he wants to make Miranda harder to get. This is because Prospero feels their love will be stronger if it is harder to obtain. Prospero is also protective when he says "the strongest oaths are straw to th' fire I' th' blood"(764) this was said to Ferdinand after Prospero makes him promise not to have sex with Miranda before they are married. He is stunned to see that after his promise Ferdinand is playing around with Miranda. Prospero just wont have any of this. This is how Prospero is protective of Miranda.

Prospero is a very forgiving man, because near the end of the story he forgives the two people who hurt him the most Antonio and Caliban. An example of this is when he says to Caliban "As you look to have my pardon trim it handsomely."(781) Prospero forgives Caliban even though he tries to rape Miranda, turns against Prospero, and tries to kill him. This was especially hurtful, because Prospero raises Caliban like a son. This was probably not as hurtful as the betrayal of Prospero's brother, Antonio. Antonio was the one who casts Miranda and Prospero out on a ship to die. Only they end up on an island for twelve years. Still Prospero forgives Antonio when he says "for you most wicked sir, whom to call brother would even infect my mouth I do forgive thy fault all of them."(777) These are the reasons why Prospero is forgiving.

Without being powerful, caring, and forgiving Prospero might not have ever gotten off of the island. Even though he must sacrifice his magic his daughters happiness is more important then his revenge. So he forgives his enemies. In the end Ariel is set free, Prospero regains his dukedom, Miranda and Ferdinand are getting married and everyone except Caliban got on the boatswains ship and headed home.

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