Shakespeare's The Tempest - Is Prospero Good or Evil?

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Tempest: Is Prospero Good or Evil?

To be able to answer this question we must first understand why Prospero can be seen as good or evil. It is fair to say that Prospero is a main protagonist to the plot of Shakespeare’s Tempest. It is due to Prospero's role as a key figure in the play that has put him under so much scrutiny. Many different Shakespearean critics have their own view of Prospero and those that read or see the play also have their own opinion of the way in which Prospero may be seen.

To be able to support either argument there must be evidence that backs-up each of the analysis of Prospero's character and why he is seen in such a way.

Having been usurped and wrecked on an Island Prospero and his young daughter Miranda have to settle. It is here in Prospero's past that it first clear to see where any confusion about his character may appear. As a learned and powerful man Prospero is able to take direct control of the island, he frees a trapped and tortured spirit (Ariel) and befriends the inhabitants (Caliban). Prospero 'helps' Caliban, he tries to educate him and teaches him to communicate, in exchange Caliban helps Prospero to survive on the Island. But in taking power of the Island Prospero is committing the same act that happened to him as Duke of Milan, now Prospero himself has become the usurper. In this act of goodness Prospero has unknowingly shown his evil side.

Prospero having been trapped on the Island with his daughter has bring her up alone. He tries to do this in as fair a way as he sees possible teaching her right from wrong and educating her in the ways of the world,

however Prospero does not inform Miranda of their past until Miranda, he feels is old enough to understand.

'Thy father was Duke of Milan and a Prince of power' (A1 Sc2 Ln57)

But with Prospero informing Miranda of this at such a late stage in her life is this Prospero as a control freak only allowing his daughter Miranda to know the truth when he feels it is time or is it Prospero being caring keeping this information from Miranda until she is of an age when she can fully understand who she is and where she came from?, again it is not clear to see if Prospero's intentions are for his own good or the good of his daughter.
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