Servitude and Power Essay

Servitude and Power Essay

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What is servitude? What is power? Are these things sought by all humans or is it something that is forced upon us? Servitude is a slavery or bondage of any type. Power is strength in ability to do. The fact about humanity remains that we are all influenced in all lifestyles by these two simple words. Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” focuses on these themes of power and servitude and presents them to us in a manner that shows the true egotistical side of humanity and the lengths that we will go to get what we want. Here the question is posed: Who is the slave and what is to gain? It is true that many of the characters show aspects of slavery, making “each character” the answer; but individually, each character still gives its own representation to the topic. A relationship that breaks the mold and does not fit with all the other human struggles for power on the island is the one between Miranda and Ferdinand. Their struggle does not match all the others and they have different gains in mind from everyone else.
Miranda just under fifteen years old is gentle and compassionate to say the least and is very passive. She is born with “a knowledge of the common humanity in which all men participate” (Douglas 233,236). You can easily see her emotional state and compassion in her very first lines: “O, I have suffered / With those that I saw suffer!” she says of the shipwreck (1.2.5–6), and hearing Prospero’s tale of their narrow escape from Milan, she says “I, not rememb’ring how I cried out then, / Will cry it o’er again” (1.2.158-160). However, even though Miranda is very passive in some ways, she has a few moments where she demonstrates strength and power that further complicates how we view this naïve girl. This first moment captures the s...


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... there are here! / How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world / That has such people in 't". (5.1.215-218) Through this passage, and many of her others, Miranda shows a positive attitude which is almost strange when compared to the other characters. He could have easily agreed and receieved help from her but he affirms the honor of his intentions. However, until those intentions are tested not even he can be sure of them. “His only weakness seems to be an inclination to sit and admire her when he should be using time to complete work the point is made in terms of remembering and forgetting.” (Douglas 233,236) This weakness is made very clear when he states:
My sweet mistress
Weeps when she seems me work, and says such baseness
Had never like executor. I forget;
But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours,
Most busy least when I do it. (3.1.11-15)

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