The Tempest

The Tempest 1611-1612 – comedy praising reconciliation and forgiveness; Prospero’s final speec seen by some as Shakespeare’s personal goodbye to the stage
Theme of Forgiveness and Reconciliation 1. Prospero feels free to forgive only after those who have wronged him suffer2. Alonso wants to be pardoned for his wrongs but real regret is the loss of his son, Ferdinand3. Prospero gives a slight pardon to Caliban but not heartfelt4. Marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda orovides for ultimate reconciliation between Prospero and Alonso
Does Shakespeare believe in magic? Yes – if Prospero’s power is taken at face valueNo – if Prospero’s power is attained through commanding intellect over less bookish individuals
Theme of human nature 1. Good characters juxtaposed with evil ones2. Human characters juxtaposed with inhuman creatures
Theme of use and abuse of power 1. Prospero accumulated great wealth and power then was banished by his power-hungry brother2. Prospero amasses great power again over the weather and the inhabitants of the island which he ultimately yields in favor of ensuring his daughter’s future
Theme of loss 1. Prospero lost everything (title, lands, possessions) but his daughter and his books2. Ferdinand thinks he has lost his father and all shipmates3. Alonso thinks he has lost his son4. Caliban and Ariel have lost their freedomLoss drives entire play as it motivates Prospero to seek revenge and then ultimately Prospero loses all of his magic powers to assume his old life again
How does the character of Prospero reflect Shakespeare himself 1. Prospero serves as narrator and tells the story2. Prospero is omniscient and conveys details to the audience as and when he sees fit3. Prospero shows supernatural powers iver weather and time much as Shakespeare controls every aspect of the universe in hos own works4. Prospero controls spirits through magic as Shakespeare manipulates the characters and the plot
Relationship between Prospero and Caliban Prospero is upstanding:European trying to help the “monster” – In exchange for the civilizing influence, Caliban tries to rape Miranda thus requiring his enslavement Caliban is upstanding:Colonizer trying to control those being colonized – Caliban teaches Prospero how to survive – Prospero betrays and enslaves Caliban substituting him for the dukedom Prospero lost
Theme of Colonialism 1. Tempest written 30 years after famous essay written “on Cannibals” that portrayed natives as savages. New World being colonized as Shakespeare wrote. 2. Ariel portrayed as submissive slave and Caliban as rebellious slave3. Prospero freed Ariel hence Ariel was genuinely grateful while Prospero takes island away from Caliban who feels that his island has been stolen4. In summary, colonization can benefit those who are colonized but it also denies those who are being colonized of anything they own (land, for example)

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