Shakespeares's Use of Karma in the Tempest

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Marico Andrews 11/20/11 Research Paper Dr. Phillips Shakespeare’s use of Karma in The Tempest “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them,” the great William Shakespeare once said. Known as the Bard, William Shakespeare was and still is today one of the greatest English writers ever. He was a poet and a playwright whose works are enjoyed all across the world. The quote above by Shakespeare in a way describes his work The Tempest; this work is said to be his last work he wrote alone. Greatness tends to come with power and this tale is all about power. In The Tempest, the Bard shows aspects of coming to power and losing power, but they are also displayed with the Indian concept of karma. Karma in basic definition means “what goes around comes around.” This means that whatever you do can come back to either bless or haunt you. How exactly does Shakespeare demonstrate the concept of karma in The Tempest one may wonder? The romance style play starts with the characters Alonso who is the now king of Naples, his brother Sebastian, his son Ferdinand, Antonio who is the brother of Prospero (the former Duke of Milan), and Antonio's counselor Gonzalo. The group is on a ship with sailors caught in a terrible storm (a tempest). The storm scares the entire group of nobleman, and they decide to abandon ship, fearing it split in half. As the storm settles, Prospero and his daughter Miranda appear standing on an island; this island has been their home for twelve years. The first appearance of karma happens here in this part of the play. Prospero is the older brother of Antonio; while he was the Duke of Milan, Antonio deeply took to studying literature. He then teamed with Alonso to banish his older brother from Milan and take over. He then abandoned Prospero and the three year old Miranda to sea, where

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