The Tempest the Play by William Shakespeare

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The Tempest the Play by William Shakespeare Ruler’s in general face many problems, as is the nature of having power and authority. However rulers like Prospero face even more difficulties, as Prospero has the ultimate power of magic and can control and manipulate people and their actions, more so than a natural ruler. The first difficulty presented is an issue, which is dealt with throughout the play: the idea of how much or how little to intervene? From the beginning of the play we are told of how and why Prospero is usurped from his dukedom, “I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated/ To closeness, and the bettering of my mind/ With that which, but by being so retired, O’er-prized all popular rate, in my false brother.” Namely because he did not get involved in running the country and possibly felt that his job was not to intervene but to be a figure-head for the country and leave the country to run itself, a ‘laissez faire’ attitude to ruling. This short speech by Prospero raises the idea that perhaps we should remember that being a ruler involves both rights and responsibilities; Prospero wanted the former but not the latter. The idea of intervention and responsibility is presented in Act 2, Scene 1, where Prospero intervenes telling Ariel to wake Gonzalo before Antonio and Sebastian draw their swords and kill him. This issue, is particularly difficult for a ruler such as Prospero as he has the power to manipulate the situation to suit him self, raising moral as well as personal dilemmas? This raises yet another problem faced by rulers, specifically Gonzalo; of how much trust you can give your subjects or more appropriately those who are next in line to the throne? This idea of trust was ... ... middle of paper ... ...have alcohol. Caliban gives his only power, knowledge of the island, as a pledge to his new masters. His hope is that by exchanging masters, he will be able to better his life. This continues the idea of trust and the problems faced by those ruler’s such as Prospero who have slaves who have an inherit need to be incarcerated by a ruler, but unfortunately by any ruler at all and are therefore not faithful. In conclusion, Act 2 reveals the difficulties faced by ruler’s such as Prospero, through cleverly interwoven narrative threads which are developed gradually throughout the play. This is especially true of the themes of trust and the fixed natures of characters, which both pose a problem for those in power. Prospero of course has the added dilemma of possessing supernatural powers which brings with it additional problems when placed in the role a ruler.
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