The Importance Of Power In Shakespeare's The Tempest

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Power is a universal concept. With regards to humanity, the desire for power ― the need for control and authority for personal gain ― is present throughout history. This theme is especially prevalent in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, through the character of Prospero, who takes advantage of his magical abilities in an immoral manner, for the purpose of fulfilling his self-serving goals. Correspondingly, Shakespeare demonstrates the effects and ethical consequences of absolute power through Prospero’s abuse of his magic for personal benefit. In The Tempest, power is an aspect of Prospero’s character that stems from his ability to use magic to strengthen and reinforce his superiority among all occupants of the island. However, prior to his inhabitance…show more content…
The tempest in the beginning of the play is a symbol of Prospero’s magic. His magic is used as an abusive form of power, utilized for the purpose of self indulgence and personal profit. Prospero’s magic and the manner in which he uses his powers unethically reveals his willingness to go to any lengths to achieve his goals. He uses physical and psychological manipulation to achieve his goal of regaining his dukedom, disregarding the possible effects of his actions on those he manipulates. Prospero abuses his power over his servants so they can perform the tasks needed to execute his plan. Prospero also benefits from his manipulation of his own daughter. His influences in Miranda and Ferdinand’s relationships are to his advantage in furthering his scheme for vengeance. The members of the royal party are those which suffer the most from Prospero’s unethical use of magical power. Prospero first creates the Tempest to capsize their ship for the purpose of enacting his plan for revenge. While on the island, he continuously uses his magic to terrorize the group, he allows Alonso to grieve Ferdinand and believe him dead. Prospero also manipulates them with magical illusions in sending Ariel as Harpy to threaten them, “Lingering perdition, —worse than any death / —shall step by step attend / You and your ways” (3.3.77-79) After which he works their minds into a madness, and then later imprisons them. Even Prospero’s supposedly virtuous decision to give up his magical powers and release the prisoners is a selfish one. Moreover, it is Ariel, not Prospero, who proposes that the royal party be pardoned. From the beginning of the play until this point, Prospero has been wholly consumed by his need for power and revenge. Prospero shows no mercy or remorse to those he manipulates until

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