The Tempest: Power and Changes in Character

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The Tempest: Power and Changes in Character Power and the prospect of having power can cause people to deviate in their actions. In Shakespeare’s, The Tempest, this concept of being in control is one of the main themes of the play; it drives the story forward and brings light onto how each of the characters behaves and thinks. Prospero, the main character, brings most of the characters to the island for the sole purpose of manipulating them to his will to act out his revenge. Ariel, a spirit, is under Prospero’s command and does what his master asks him to in hopes that he will gain his freedom. Caliban, with the assistance of Stephano and Trinculo, plans to murder Prospero for making him his slave. These three aspects of the story guide the reader or audience through the play and towards the unifying conclusion. Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan and brings most of the other characters to the island to exact his revenge, something that he would not do under most circumstances. At the beginning of the play, he tells his daughter Miranda that “[Her] father was the Duke of Milan and / A prince of power.” (1.2. 54-55), but he had been ousted by his brother with the assistance of the King of Naples. Since then, Prospero has sought retribution for being driven out of Milan. This indicates the motive behind most of Prospero’s actions during the course of the play. He explains to Miranda that “By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune / (Now my dear lady) hath mine enemies / Brought to this shore” (1.2. 179-181) and that he is taking the opportunity given to him to finally avenge his unrightful banishment. However, when telling Miranda about their past, he states that he had “[neglected] all worldly ends, all dedicated / To closeness and the bettering of my mind” (1.2. 89-90). At that time, it can be inferred that Prospero was not a particularly

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