Prospero's Redemption in The Tempest Essay

Prospero's Redemption in The Tempest Essay

Length: 2353 words (6.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Prospero's Redemption in The Tempest


"By him I'll be great Emperor of the world"
--Marlowe, Faustus

Prospero's intent throughout the course of The Tempest is neither to revenge himself upon his enemies, nor to reconcile himself with his estranged brother. It is, rather, to orchestrate the reclamation of his lost duchy, Milan, through both his magic and a shrewd manipulation of both the shipwrecked party and the islanders (Caliban and Miranda).

Prospero promotes both the mutual affections of Ferdinand and Miranda and the two regicidal conspiracies (Antonio's and Caliban's). Through the establishment of the graver conspiracy, and through the overwhelmingly magical nature of the island, he drives Alonso into a state of confusion from which any escape would be welcome. He turns Alonso's men against him and separates his son, inciting the paranoia and fear that come with an insecure station, while reminding him of his own fate twelve years prior—proof that such paranoia is not without foundation.

Prospero's magic is a display of power, a power which he only foretells renouncing. While in some stage productions Prospero will break a staff or burn a book, the text itself switches from a future tense first person description of the renunciation, in the play, to a past tense description, in the epilogue; the event itself is never enacted. The precise moment at which Prospero destroys his books, however, is irrelevant, as his power lies not so much in them as in Ariel. Ariel is not given freedom until the King's ship "shall catch/ [the] royal fleet far off . . . Ariel . . . that is thy charge" (V.1 315-17). By retaining Ariel after the reconciliation Prospero remains empowered, a necessity in the event that Alonso suffers ...


... middle of paper ...


...rother and open to sibling rivalry and betrayal, the bond of the new Milan is father-to-daughter. By advancing Miranda Prospero does advance himself, in that she is and will produce his legacy, but he also advances her of her own accord, as an act of love. The latter is the more virtuous, closer to the idyllic Milan Prospero would have shared with Antonio and the paradise that Gonzalo proposes to the shipwrecked party. Prospero summons the tempest to effect the calm that will follow, knowing the pieces will settle where he wants them.



WORKS CITED:

Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince. Robert M. Adams, trans., ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1977. pp. vii.-75.

Marlowe, Christopher. Dr. Faustus. William Allan Neilson, ed. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1994.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Northrop Frye, ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1987.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Conflict and Harmony in The Tempest Essay

- Conflict and Harmony in The Tempest     William Shakespeare describes a 'utopic' world saturated with supernatural images and ideas which works to create the mysterious island where The Tempest takes place.  This is one of Shakespeare's best examples of how a natural harmony reveals itself through the actions of discourse and confusion.  To illustrate this idea best one must examine the historical context upon which The Tempest is based.  Because this play was published in the early 1600s, controversial cultural and political events undoubtedly surface.  Furthermore, by analyzing the sub-plots in the play, the reader has a better understanding of Shakespeare's purpose for including mult...   [tags: Tempest essays]

Powerful Essays
1382 words (3.9 pages)

Imagery in The Tempest, by William Shakespeare Essays

-     William Shakespeare's play The Tempest utilizes extensive imagery which goes beyond merely creating atmosphere and background or emphasizing the major themes of the play. The supernatural plays a considerable role in the play, thus so does the use of imagery, which is more extensive and somewhat different from many other of Shakespeare's works. The imagery is used as a mediator of supernatural powers, to emphasize the natural scene of action, and establish the enchanted island which becomes vivid through such a wealth of single features and of concrete touches....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Powerful Essays
3744 words (10.7 pages)

Four Sides of Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay

- Four Sides of The Tempest 1 "They all enter the circle which Prospero had made, and there stand charm'd" In the First Folio edition of The Tempest, at the climax of the action, Shakespeare instructs that the magician Prospero inscribe a magic circle on the bare Elizabethan stage into which all the various characters of the action will be drawn: sage and fool, monarch and savage, clown and lover, young and old, cynic and innocent. It is as if Shakespeare, through Prospero, has assembled a representative sample of divided humanity, and brought them together deliberately to re-enact the oldest of rituals and the most insistent themes of history and of psycholo...   [tags: Tempest essays]

Free Essays
1142 words (3.3 pages)

Comparing Puck and Prospero Essay

- Shakespeare’s characters of Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Prospero from The Tempest share some traits of speech and manipulation. The Tempest was written late in the author’s career. It features an older character tinkering about with the lives of the younger people around him. This brings to mind an easy comparison between Prospero and the writer himself. The character of Prospero is controlled by no one else. He is strong, he is in charge, and he is, in his own thoughts, wise. Like Prospero, Shakespeare is able to shape the events, emotions, and environment....   [tags: Character Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1250 words (3.6 pages)

The Genre of The Tempest Essay

- The Genre of The Tempest The Tempest is customarily identified as the William Shakespeare's last piece. These marginal issues aside, The Tempest is the forth, final and finest of Shakespeare's great and/or late romances. Along with Pericles, Cymbeline and The Winters Tale, The Tempest belongs t the genre of Elizabethan romance plays. It combines elements of Tragedy (Prospero's revenge/Loss of a royal son) with those of romantic comedy (the young lover Ferdinand and Miranda) and, like one of Shakespeare's problem plays, Measure for measure, it poses deeper questions that are not completely resolved at the end....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
962 words (2.7 pages)

biblical themes in shakespeares the tempest Essay

- Biblical Themes in Shakespeare’s The Tempest Shakespeare is one of the most prolific and admired writers who ever lived. He certainly knew his craft and was familiar with all of the literature available at the time. One of the greatest books ever written was of course the bible. Written over the course of more than a thousand years it is a miracle in itself that the book exists. Shakespeare knew his bible, and his work often incorporated and examined biblical themes. Shakespeare’s last completed work was The Tempest, and it is as complex and deeply moving as any of his works....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1700 words (4.9 pages)

Prospero in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" Essay

- Prospero in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" Prospero has long been read as one of Shakespeare’s most cherished and provocative protagonists. His timeless role in “The Tempest” has provided readers and critics with insights into many attributes of Shakespeare as a man, his works, and the political views that are personified in his play. The historical context of “The Tempest” is one that convincingly conveys the political views of the English people of his time, relating to the colonization of the New World, the expansion of British powers, and the domination of the indigenous peoples that was necessary for the British to thrive in the Americas....   [tags: Shakespeare Tempest Prospero Essays]

Powerful Essays
1260 words (3.6 pages)

Shakespeare's Use of Language, Imagery and Setting to Illuminate Prospero's Journey from Revenge to Reconciliation

- Shakespeare's Use of Language, Imagery and Setting to Illuminate Prospero's Journey from Revenge to Reconciliation The Tempest opens on 'a ship at sea' caught in 'a tempestuous storm'. This setting would immediately suggest to the Elizabethan audience, the presence of danger and evil, as they would be familiar with other Shakespearian plays where storms have been used in this way, for example, Macbeth and King Lear. The desperate language of the characters in the opening scene would further reinforce the audience's sense of evil afoot....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1188 words (3.4 pages)

Character of Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay examples

- Tempest Character Analysis        William Shakespeare's last play The Tempest is a story about Prospero (the rightful duke of Milan). He is betrayed by his brother Antonio and left on a ship with his daughter Miranda to die. Only things are not going according to plan and Prospero and Miranda arrive on an island. Prospero is seeking his revenge. Coming back from a wedding in Africa a ship containing Prosperos enemies is attacked by the tempest and scatters its passengers about the island. Prospero exhibits three major character traits: forcefulness, protectiveness and forgiveness....   [tags: Tempest essays]

Free Essays
628 words (1.8 pages)

Essay on The Characters of Prospero and Caliban in The Tempest

- The Conflict between Passion and Intellect in The Tempest      During the time of Shakespeare, society had a hierarchical structure. In Shakespeare's play, The Tempest, the characters of Prospero and Caliban, represent two different extremes on the social spectrum: the ruler, and the ruled. Their positions on the social hierarchy are largely due to the fact that Caliban responds almost wholly to passions, feelings of pleasure -- his senses, while Prospero is ruled more by his intellect and self-discipline -- his mind....   [tags: The Tempest Essays]

Powerful Essays
1554 words (4.4 pages)