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Explore The Ways In Which Prospero Is Presented As A Character In William Shakespeare'S 'The Tempest'

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Prospero is arguably the most interesting and diverse characters within William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'. He is a man that was wronged by his usurping brother, however he is somewhat difficult to like as his story unfolds and the story of others is submerged. His power over and treatment of other characters shows him as a man that is struggling with his own importance and ability, however his isolation from the world for so many years clearly plays an important part in the way prospero uses his power to try and obtain justice for what he lost. His Manner is presented as authoritarian, Shakespeare uses language to create Prospero's threatening manipulative manner, using dialect that has emotional impact on each character for separate reasons.

The changes that occur in Prospero's character are unfathomable at times, and many of his speeches are fairly ambiguous. Prospero's treatment of Caliban is malicious, he enslaves him and calls upon his spirits to pinch him when he curses. His handling of Caliban can be justified to some extent; Caliban is the son of the witch that controlled the island before he did, and he tried to rape Prospero's daughter Miranda. Caliban's plight mirrors that of Prospero's in some ways, Prospero had his dukedom taken away by his brother and was then isolated from the world, Caliban is the only island native in the play, and in his opinion the island belongs to him. Shakespeare is trying to highlight the human response to experiencing a negative event, by Prospero inflicting pain on Caliban and suppressing him and his power, he cannot be a victim. Prospero feels threatened by Caliban, he wants to suppress the Native of the island, to gain complete control, his fear of losing power again is incredibly deep-seated. His hatred of Caliban is evident in the way he addresses him, "Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself upon thy wicked dam, come forth!" By Prospero calling Caliban a slave, he is giving him a pungent reminder of the situation he despises, being a slave to Prospero. It shows Prospero's insecurity's and fears, like a classic bully and victim scenario, if Prospero is the bully he won't be the victim. He refers to him as 'poisonous' and 'got by the devil himself' this demonstrates his wish to demoralise Caliban and manipulate his thoughts into believing himself to be evil and noxious.

Ariel is extremely loyal to prospero, his devotion does not falter throughout many years of Prospero's autocratic rule over him. His control over Ariel in unsympathetic, his promise to free the spirit is not fulfilled when he said it would be, because he wants to continue with his plan to punish the men that have made him suffer. When Ariel reminds prospero of his promise, prospero becomes enraged and threatening "Thou liest, malignant thing! Hast thou forgot the foul witch Sycorax, who with age and envy was grown into a hoop? hast thou forgot her?". By referring to Ariel as a malignant thing, he is reminding Ariel that he is a spirit, a 'thing' rather than human, to raise himself on a higher level than Ariel, he tries to make him feel guilty for being disloyal and ungrateful, he shows his manipulative nature by turning the wrongdoing onto Ariel, he likens him to a disease, and a threat by describing him as 'malignant', this is similar to the way he describes Caliban as 'poisonous', highlighting his insecurity and bullying nature. Prospero does not want the aggravation of dealing with Ariel when he already has complete control over him, There are too many other characters and situations he is desperately trying to keep in control of for Prospero to worry about his risk free relationship with Ariel. Prospero's behaviour towards Ariel is domineering, Shakespeare's showing people's inclination to disregarding the things we don't need to think about, Prospero doesn't need to worry about Ariel leaving, Ariel is enslaved to him until Prospero's sets him free, so there is no reason to question his treatment of him.

Prospero's love of Miranda is obvious, she is all he has had on the Island as a companion, she is gentle and naпve, however she doesn't care much about why or how they are on the island; when Prospero talks about it she gets bored and restless "Your tale, sir, would cure deafness." her attention is only recaptured by the change is topic. Prospero try's to depict himself to everybody in different ways; to some he is threatening and unreasonable and to Miranda he tries to show himself as a victim of the devious world from which they have come. Shakespeare is highlighting Prospero's falseness by showing Miranda as disinterested; she is a expression of innocence in the story, untainted by life's reality and cruelness, therefore she is not as vulnerable to being drawn in by falsehoods and manipulation, this may be Prospero's saving grace, his daughter is his reality and she keeps him grounded. Miranda's husband is chosen for her by Prospero, he leads Ferdinand to her with the wish they would fall in love, he had Ferdinand taken from the ship and lead to Miranda, then he enslaved him, he wanted to ensure the love between Ferdinand and Miranda is a challenge worth winning. He gives Ferdinand and Miranda his blessing once he believes they will last but warns him not to 'break her virgin-knot' before they are married. Prospero believes Miranda and Ferdinand's love will last longer if it is harder to obtain, "the strongest oaths are straw to th' fire I' th' blood." Prospero needs to assert his authority to Ferdinand in the same way he does with Ariel and Caliban, "Poor worm, thou art infected! This visitation shows it." Shakespeare's purpose in Prospero's use of the word 'infected' is to show again his insecurity and desire to suppress the other characters, this mirrors his interaction's with Ariel and Caliban when he labelled them 'malignant' and 'poisonous'

Prospero appears to be a resilient and vital character, he is fundamental in generating the main viewpoints of the play. His tricks, plots and spells all make Prospero the most vital Character in the play. However we see that without all of these, Prospero is nothing but a man. Without Ariel, Ferdinand and Miranda, he would be without hope of justice. Seeing prospero treat the people that are so essential to his goal, makes the audience see him as unappreciative, heartless and totalitarian, he has become so absorbed in his powers that he has let it become part of him, instead of letting it be an aid to regain what he lost. Prospero's power does not just help him reach his goal, but inhibits his true personality, We see Prospero's realisation



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