Exploring Shakespeare's Presentation of the Theme of Power in The Tempest

1647 Words 7 Pages
Exploring Shakespeare's Presentation of the Theme of Power in The Tempest

In 'The Tempest', power manifests itself in many different forms. Three of the main types of power that Shakespeare explores are the power of love, the power of magic and illusion and the power of a master over his slave. He presents these forms of power in a number of ways.

In 'The Tempest' Prospero appears to hold the majority of the power. He maintains his control over other characters in various ways, for example he uses the power of love to influence his daughter Miranda. Miranda is devoted to her father, and Prospero uses guilt to maintain this. In their first conversation, Prospero?s power over Miranda becomes
…show more content…
Although Prospero forbade Miranda from telling Ferdinand her name, he knew that they would inevitably fall in love. He does not want Miranda to appear as a prize that can be easily won, saying ?I must uneasy make, lest too light winning/ Make the prize light? and he instigates his authority by creating rules for Miranda and also treating Ferdinand as he would a slave, ordering him to ?Come! I?ll manacle thy neck and feet together?.

Although Ferdinand is a prince, he must bow to Prospero?s authority, similarly to the characters of Ariel and Caliban. Prospero has control over his slave Ariel, whom he controls by the promise of freedom. This type of master-slave power is a dominant form of power within ?The Tempest?. Ariel is a spirit who is, similarly to Miranda, devoted to Prospero. He says to Prospero ?All hail, great master, great sir, hail!? The repetition makes it seem dramatic and joyful, emphasising Ariel?s devotion to Prospero, and the fact that he will do whatever Prospero asks of him. As with Miranda, Prospero also controls Ariel using guilt, saying ?dost thou forget/ from what a torment I did free thee from... thy groans did make wolves howl? This causes Ariel feel as though he is at Prospero?s service, with Shakespeare using terrifying imagery to remind us of the anguish Ariel had faced