The Tempest and Antigone Essay

The Tempest and Antigone Essay

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In William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and in Sophocles’ Antigone, both authors explore and illustrate the differences between “human law” and “higher law”. The two authors have different opinions about those laws. In The Tempest, Prospero uses his magic to manipulate various characters, and he often uses his magic to follow the plot of the story by his own way. Prospero uses his magic for total control over the people on the island where he lives. In Antigone, Creon, the King of Thebes, uses his title to manipulate others that kills Haemon and Antigone. Though the ending is more tragic in Creon’s control than in Prospero’s, by the end of Creon’s manipulation, the Greek Gods destroys Thebes. Regardless of the differences between the plays, both have different views of “human law” and “higher law”. Through the character and the setting development of the story in both plays, it is obvious that Shakespeare favors “human law” and Sophocles favors “higher law”.
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the focus throughout the story is on the “human law” as Prospero is seen as a manipulator. Near the beginning of the play, Prospero enslaves Caliban, and he obeys Prospero all the time when Prospero orders him to do so. After Prospero gives instructions what to do, Caliban says in an aside that, “[He] must obey. [Prospero’s] art is of such power/ It would control [his] dam’s god, Setebos, / And make a vassal of [Setebos]” (Shakespeare I.ii.448-450). When Prospero threatens Caliban that he, “would control [Caliban’s] dam’s god, Setebos” (Shakespeare I.ii.449), making Prospero more powerful than the gods. Prospero’s actions prove that he is the top of the Great Chain of Being. Thus, Shakespeare use of indirect characterization demonstrates to the au...


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... In Shakespeare’s The Tempest and in Sophocles Antigone, the text compares itself whether if the belief is toward “human law” or “higher law”. Prospero, in The Tempest, is a person who did control others and proves the point that no gods rule. However, Creon, in Antigone, also did control others yet, in that time, the Gods did rule and they did make the lives in Thebes destructive when one breaks their laws. Comparing the two plays, the authors did write in two different periods with different beliefs. The ancient belief is the setting where the “higher law” is in effect when Antigone is in place. Moreover, in colonialism, there is a different belief, which the “human law” is in order when The Tempest is in place. Whereabouts, the authors seem to favor different laws depending either of how the authors make their stories or in what kind of setting is taken place.

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