Shakespeare's The Tempest - Miranda

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The Character of Miranda in The Tempest

The character of Miranda in "The Tempest" is extremely compelling for two reasons. First and foremost it is important to note that the Miranda is the only female character who appears in the entire play. This is the only Shakespeare play where a character has this kind of outstanding distinction. This is not just a fluke on the part of Shakespeare, for it is very important that the character of Miranda appear by herself. The reader is not able to compare her beauty and virtue to any other female in the world of "The Tempest", and this serves both to show her value as a character and the fact that no other living women has the virtue of Miranda. While Miranda may not have many outstanding lines or solioquys, she makes up for this in sheer presence alone. Miranda's character encompasses all the elements of perfectionism and goodness which is lacking in all the other respective characters. All of the other characters in "The Tempest" are reflected by Miranda, and even if she did not speak one line she would still serve this important purpose.

Secondly, Miranda also serves as the ultimate fantasy for any male who (like Ferdinand) is a bachelor. She is extremely beautiful, she is intelligent, and she has never been touched (or even seen) by another male. Shakespeare makes Miranda even more desirable by including the fact that she has never seen or even talked to another man (with the obvoius exception of Prospero). Miranda personifies the ultimate source of good in the play, and provides the ultimate foil for the evil character of Caliban. When Ferdinand is forced to chop wood by Prospero, Miranda offers to do it for him. Finding a woman this humble in the world of Shakespeare is almost impossible. One does not have to look farther than her last line in the play to realize her purpose in the plot. Miranda states "O wonder! / How many goodly creatures there are here! / How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world / That has such people in't" (Tempest,5.1,185-7) Through this passage and many of her others Miranda shows a positive attitude which is almost uncanny when compared to the other characters.
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