Shakespeare’s The Tempest is a play about loss - more specifically, Prospero’s loss. Prospero is a tragic hero, in a sense, because he makes the transition from having everything to having nothing. He loses his daughter. He brings his enemies under his power only to eventually lose control and release them. In the end, he gives up his influence on the world – including his incredible power over nature itself. The Tempest can be seen as a tragic play because of a few elements – Prospero is a dominant figure who must have revenge in return for the wrongs inflicted upon him, and, in his fury, he manages to destroy his enemies as well as his own humanity and his daughter’s future.
Prospero is shown to be somewhat of a dictator in The Tempest. He doesn’t speak to the other characters, instead he dictates “at” them. Rather than converse with his daughter Miranda, Prince Ferdinand, and Ariel, he tells them his thoughts with no intention of receiving a response. At the end of Act IV Prospero is caught up in the ecstasy of punishing and determining the fate of ...
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... William Shakespeare. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1958. xlii.
Palmer, D. J. (Editor) The Tempest - A Selection of Critical Essays London: MacMillan Press Ltd., 1977.
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans, et. al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1974.
Solomon, Andrew. "A Reading of the Tempest." In Shakespeare's Late Plays. Ed. Richard C. Tobias and Paul G. Zolbrod. Athens: Ohio UP, 1974. 232.
John Wilders' lecture on The Tempest given at Oxford University - Worcester College - August 4th, 1999.
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