Prospero's Personality

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In The Tempest Prospero is termed ‘the tyrant’, ‘the wrong’d duke of Milan’, ‘wise’ and sees himself as a practitioner of ‘rough magic’. Write about these comments and, based on your reading of the play and the views of others, show how you view Prospero. The purpose of the play represents symbolically and fundamentally Prospero’s quest to learn from life in order to liberate his soul. Prospero in the play at first sight signifies wisdom and bountiful knowledge through the practice of magic and his fatherly attributes who deserves the title ‘wise’. However alternative aspects of his character are portrayed relaying an ambiguity. Caliban labels Prospero a ‘tyrant’ for enslaving him on his own island; the punishment that Prospero delivers to Caliban raises questions regarding the so-called lessons that he has learned. Sympathy is aroused within the audience on hearing upon Prospero’s doleful plight and opinion will have become more appraising when Prospero forgives his brother. Yet, another disturbing aspect of Prospero’s character is his acclamation of possessing miraculous abilities admitting he can even resurrect the dead. To a Christian audience of the Medieval era this proclamation would have been horrific and borderline blasphemous: it would have warranted a hanging at least. However Prospero renounces his ‘rough magic’ and is willing to give up his ‘Art’ once he leaves the island marking Prospero’s transition. Whether these individual traits can be ascribed to his personality entirely is subject to debate however denying one will not do justice to the rendering of Prospero. There are many interpretations to the numerous facets of Prospero – some are very critical and others are much more appraising. What is significant is that Prospero’s journey contemplates the latter part of life, peace must be made with oneself and learning from one’s mistakes
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