Anti-Colonialism in Shakespeare´s The Tempest Play Essay

Anti-Colonialism in Shakespeare´s The Tempest Play Essay

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Anti-Colonialism in Shakespeare’s The Tempest Play
Through The Tempest play, William Shakespeare weaves together a tale that is characterized by anti-colonialist sentiments. Prospero - the deposed Milan Duke - adopts a colonialist mentality by treating his colleagues as slaves who have no rights. Characters who suffer mistreatment under Prospero include: Ariel - the spirit creature; Ferdinand - the Naples Prince; and Caliban - Sycorax’s son. Prospero possesses much magical power which he uses to oppress his compatriots. Consequently, Prospero is portrayed as a colonial tyrant who abuses his immense power. Anti-colonialism feelings are especially evident through the actions, utterances and disposition and of Caliban, Miranda, Ferdinand and Ariel. To illustrate, Caliban berates Prospero for the former’s forced labor. Likewise, Ariel protests Prospero’s reluctance to release the former as earlier agreed. Miranda also expresses her dissatisfaction with Prospero’s unfair imprisonment of Ferdinand. Similarly, Ferdinand appears to challenge Prospero’s authority by briefly stopping dragging timber so as to flirt and chat with Miranda. The foregoing four characters exhibit conduct that highlights their displeasure with Prospero’s colonial-style authority over them. From the preceding expose, it can thus be concluded that Shakespeare’s The Tempest play is about anti-colonialism based on its depiction of Caliban, Miranda, Ferdinand and Ariel’s opposition to Prospero’s oppressive authority.
To expound, after running Alonzo’s ship aground, Ariel verbally demonstrates his opposition to Prospero’s forced servitude, thus alluding to the anti-colonial nature of The Tempest play. Believing that his master will free him one year earlier as agre...


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...eclaration is representative of the overarching theme of opposition to colonial authority.
In summary, Shakespeare’s The Tempest play explores the theme of opposition to the colonial-style authority of Prospero based on various characters’ covert and overt reactions to the master’s antics. For instance, Ariel opposes Prospero’s continuous detention of the former regardless of an earlier agreement to the contrary. Moreover, Caliban expresses his dissatisfaction with the forced labor that her does for Prospero. To prove his opposition to Prospero’s authority, Caliban plans the master’s death. Miranda also makes a statement that indicates her displeasure with the way Prospero executes his authority especially with regard to Ferdinand. The imprisoned Ferdinand also indicates his opposition to Prospero’s power through a disproving statement made before Miranda.

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