The Tempest the Play by William Shakespeare Essay

The Tempest the Play by William Shakespeare Essay

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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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