Essay on Power By William Shakespeare 's The Tempest

Essay on Power By William Shakespeare 's The Tempest

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Power is defined as the competency or the ability to determine the behavior of other individual or the outcomes of certain circumstances. For most, blood is their direct entrance into their position in the social hierarchy and for the most elite, it is almost as if these individuals are born with an innate ability to give orders, enforce obedience and exercise their authority at will. William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, presents the prevailing theme of power. This play constantly introduces conflicts between those in power and those suppressed by it. Prospero, the main protagonist, is the power figure and the relationships he shares with others are constantly assessed depicting the connection between the inferior class and those of admirable social position. Even though power can sometimes lead to positive outcomes, excessive amounts often leads to undesired consequences because individuals abuse their power, which is evident in the relationships between characters.

Despite the numerous negative consequences that arise from the use of power in The Tempest, Prospero’s “art” ultimately leads to positive results for various characters. For Prospero, his powers enable him to benefit himself by achieving his goals such as creating a vicious storm, obtaining control of the island and turn friends against each other when given the opportunity. Ariel’s release is strong proof that magic can be useful and does not always lead to a harmful outcome. Without supernatural abilities, Sycorax’s “mischiefs manifold and sorceries terrible” (1.2.267) would be unmatchable and Ariel would suffer never-ending torment. Although the effects of the storm are generally perceived as negative, the shipwreck ultimately brought Miranda and Ferdinand togethe...

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...t danger. Without these books, “[Prospero’s] but a sot, as [Caliban is], nor hath not/ One spirit to command” (3.2.92-93). Egotistical individuals continue their reign by instilling fear in those thought to be inferior, which is exactly what Prospero does to Caliban.

Although power can produce positive results when used correctly, it is often misused and therefore prompts negative outcomes. In The Tempest, Shakespeare effectively uses his characters to show that too much power can be dangerous, it is in fact their biggest hamartia. This romance comedy presents the idea that the theme of power in relationships only creates more conflict and the superior individual tends to be the one who benefits from the interaction. The relationships between those who posses the power and those who are suppressed by it clearly demonstrate the theme being proven by Shakespeare.

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