Prospero In The Tempest Essay

1790 WordsDec 2, 20098 Pages
The Tempest's Prospero William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest deals with a group of castaways on an island, each with their own agenda and plan of action, each attempting to manipulate the situation to get what he wants. Prospero, however, is the one who takes on the role of the playwright himself and manipulates the characters, like pieces on a chessboard, to achieve his own goals. This is first seen in the formation of the Tempest itself – Prospero uses a manufactured storm (which readers are left to assume is engineered by Prospero’s magic, as it is never directly stated that he caused the tempest) to bring his brother, usurper of his throne, to his island, where Prospero can virtually control the situation completely. He also brings ashore the King of Naples and his son Ferdinand, and a motley crew of supporting characters. It seems as though Prospero’s only intention in this was to bring his brother to him, so that he could confront him. However it later becomes clear that he has other designs in mind as well. Miranda, Prospero’s naïve and gentle fifteen-year-old daughter, is perhaps the character most manipulated by Prospero. When this play was written it was common for a woman to be controlled by her father, insofar as daughters (as well as sons, though to somewhat of a lesser degree) were often used as bargaining chips. Shakespeare shows Prospero’s use of Miranda to be more blatant however. When she accuses him of causing the storm and then is distraught by the fact that someone might have gotten hurt, he distracts her quickly with a bit of hypnoses followed by the story of how they came to be on the island in the first place. It is not directly stated that he used hypnosis on her, but he opens the story by telling her to “Obey and be attentive”, and the language he uses is both hypnotic and

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