Essay on Miranda, Ferdinand,and Prospero

Essay on Miranda, Ferdinand,and Prospero

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The reciprocation of salvation, gifts, and promises or contracts that governs Miranda, Ferdinand, and Prospero’s relationship is contingent. In other words, nothing is given freely. Although salvation is often time portrayed as a gift, I suggest that perhaps there is no such thing as a free gift or pure salvation. Prospero gives Miranda as a gift to Ferdinand. However, the reason was not that the gift is free, but that in return Prospero gains from gift-giving. Still, Prospero cannot give the gift until the promise of chastity is fulfilled. He cannot ergo receive the benefit until the fulfillment of the promise. Inversely, Ferdinand cannot receive the gift until he fulfills his promise to Prospero by not violating Miranda’s virginity. The gift is contingent on the promise of saving. I will argue that this saving herself and Ferdinand not violating her virginity is a legal and economical contract. Because both parties, Ferdinand and Prospero, have responsibility and benefit from the promise, this is why there is no such thing as a free gift rather a mutual trade. Prospero and Ferdinand’s pre-contract agreement is a necessary condition for Ferdinand’s taking Miranda’s hand in marriage, another form of legal contract.

Gift-giving is never free because it entails that the recipient return with acts of gratitude. The returning favor will apt to be reciprocated. I argue that Prospero’s gift of Miranda is not free evident through his motives and intentions manifested since the beginning and throughout the play. Miranda is a tagged gift because something is expected in return from the giving of that gift. Prospero’s plan drives him to create the storm, to manipulate the crew, and to lead Ferdinand to Miranda. Using the power he has ov...


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...teed. Until the occurrence of their marriage, all must complete the designated conditions. Therefore, salvation and gifts, like chastity, is neither pure nor free.

Following the idea that there is no such thing as a free gift or pure salvation, I observe that the relationship among the characters are contingent and reciprocal. A few examples are: the spirits depend on each other throughout the masque, Prospero depends on Ariel for magical powers and in return Ariel depends on Prospero’s promise of freedom. However, in the Epiloque Prospero by forgiving everyone he is at the same time freeing them from the repeating patterns of repayment we have seen throughout the play. One might further consider whether the reciprocation may have taken form in another way and if salvation or gifts are ever free just as Prospero might have said, “Thou shalt be free” (I. 2. 499).

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