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Importance of Dialogue in The Tempest
Dialogue is one of the most important features in a play, where the audience has the story acted and spoken out in front of them. For this reason, in a play such as The Tempest, relationships are written and constructed mainly through the spoken word. The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, in the genre of both a romance and a pastoral tragicomedy.
Since Prospero is the central character of the text, most of the relationships shown and developed in the play concern him. He has his main dealings with Miranda, Ferdinand, Alonso, Antonio and Caliban. Miranda is his daughter, and was exiled along with him to this island. Prospero has cared solely for her in the last sixteen years, and thus is very protective. He helps Miranda and Ferdinand to become betrothed, and as a kind of test he makes Ferdinand do chores. When he sees the true love between them, and that his little girl is not sop little anymore, he consents to their marriage. His relationship with Ferdinand is much shorter, but basically he tests Ferdinand to see if he is a worthy husband for his daughter. He accuses him of various things, such as being a spy, but the fast that Ferdinand repeatedly exclaims that any burden is made, light if he can see the face of Miranda pleases Prospero. Part of Miranda's new status as being grown up is shown in the long exposition where Prospero finally tells her the truth about her background and how they came upon the island, and her exclamation of ""Oh brave new world, that hath such people in't."" when she sees the noblemen, more people than she has ever seen singly before, all at once.
Caliban is the monstrous son of the dark witch Sycorax, who was the ruler of the island previously. As heir apparent, Prosper actually usurped rule from him, a fact which is never given thought to in the play! Prospero did look kindly onto Caliban at first, but after his attempted rape of Miranda he was reduced to the status of common slave, with Prospero as his master. After the attempted crime, it is no wonder that the relationship between them is quite testy.
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Twelve years previous to the opening of the play, when Prospero was ousted from his Dukedom, it was Antonio, aided by Alonso, who took over. Thus, when ""my enemies are delivered into my hands"" he can take revenge, while teaching Alonso a lesson. By making Ferdinand wash ashore away from the nobles, the nobles think Ferdinand must have died in the storm. This is very distressing news to Alonso, since he has just marries off his daughter, Claribel, to the King of Tunis, and with Ferdinand gone he has no heirs to take over the throne when he dies, like the mythical Greek king Aigeus. This show's Prospero's attitude towards Alonso now, but as the play develops, particularly towards the end where Alonso meets up again with Ferdinand, Prospero is seen as forgiving towards Alonso and they talk togethger as two nobles. Prospero in the role of mentor and educator is seen here; he has taught Alonso not to be politically expedient; for the sake of a quick foreign alliance he gave up his only daughter.
Antonio is quite an evil character: quite soon after the nobles land on the island he and Sebastian hatch a plot to kill the sleeping King Alonso. In fact, it is only the magic 'hand' of Prospero who stops them, again in the role of educator, and in this case, protector. Dialogue is the main way in which we find about the character of Antonio: he uses his razor sharp wit with Sebastian to tease the king councillor Gonzalo, and at the end of the play we see his attitude towards Prospero, even when he is forgiven for past wrongs, he is still quite stubborn and unrepentant. The dialogue between Prospero And Antonio in the last scene also shows friction between the brothers since that incident, sixteen years before.
Another character who Prospero has a deep relationship with is Gonzalo, councillor to King Alonso. Gonzalo helped Prospero and Miranda by giving them food and shelter when they were set afloat on the seas, and they would probably not have survived to make it to the island without his help. Gonzalo is also wise and is optimistic in the face of doubt, as illustrated by the fact that while Antonio and Sebastian complain about the island they have landed upon, Gonzalo tells him what he would do the the island if he could: set up a utopia, a land of 'no sovereignity' and equality. At the end of the play, hen everybody gets together for the last scene, Prospero shows that he hasn't forgotten the kind deed of Gonzalo in the past, as he thanks him for helping them.
With the ending of the romance, Ferdinand and Miranda get married, Prospero gets back his Dukedom and gets ready to resume his duties and a kind and fair ruler, Caliban gets back the island to himself once more, Ariel the spirit gets its freedom, and the play ends with reconciliation, and a hope for the future, symbolized as well by the new world. Through the relationships of the characters with Prospero, we can see the process of forgiveness and how the characters have changed for the better.