Injustice for Justice: an Analysis on Equity in the the Tempest

1440 WordsApr 15, 20126 Pages
Justice is the pursuit of righteousness and moral good standing within an individual or a group. Shakespeare, however, gives new perspective to this idea of justice in his work, The Tempest. Shakespeare critiques justice and portrays it in way in which justice is defined as the rule of the majority, and governed by the person with most power. Through the actions of the main character, Prospero; this new viewpoint of both justice and mercy emerges. Prospero, once the Duke of Milan, seeks revenge for the usurpation of his throne by his brother. In Act One Scene Two, we see Prospero admit he creates a storm in order to shipwreck his enemies' vessels. Prospero's means through which he seeks justice for himself involve conniving, manipulating…show more content…
Ariel repeatedely attempts to seek justice and freedom from Prospero when he states: Is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains, Let me remember thee what thou hast promised, Which is not yet performed me.(1.2 243-245) Ariel is Prospero's servant, yet he is also his assisting companion. Ariel voluntarily does Prospero's work. He is loyal and yet Prospero sees him as a means to an end and manipulates Ariel's willingness. His manipulation is seen where he affirms: "Dost thou forget, from what a torment I did free thee? (1.2. 383-383) Prospero’s actions are contradictory. This exemplifies the idea that justice in the Tempest is primarily depicted as what is best for Prospero. Prospero's relationship with Caliban differs from that of Prospero and Ariel's. Prospero does not view Caliban as a being who could be his equal. He is blinded by his prejudice against Caliban's appearance and manners. Caliban is portrayed in a negative light. He can be seen as the depiction of the victims of colonial expansion. Although Prospero seeks this righteousness, he both mistreats and insults Caliban, who ultimately attempts to kill Prospero. In comparison to Ariel who acts only when commanded by Prospero, Caliban is wild. He refuses to be colonized and tamed. This can be taken as a reference by Shakespeare towards those who were

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