The Tempest: Ariel, Prospero, And Caliban

Decent Essays

The Tempest is full of many powerful people who climb over each other to get to the top. Arguments of who has the most power on the island vary and there is no one solid answer. Three people stand out the most: Ariel, Prospero, and Caliban. They all have power in different ways and it is disputed if some even have power or only give the illusion of it. Ariel, a ghost spirit, has power because s/he has magic. Prospero is powerful because he controls Ariel and many others. Caliban is physically powerful and could have power from his mother. As power varies, Ariel has the most through magic, but prospero has knowledge and control, and caliban is threatening and physically strong.

Ariel a ghost spirit is magical, but he is under Prospero's
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His mother, Sycorax, was banished there by sailors for no known reason; “This blue-eyed hag was hither brought with child / And here was left by th’ sailors” (I.II.322-323). Sycorax is an African with blue eyes which is unusual and so people thought she was magic because of it, hence the name she was referred to in the quote, ‘blue-eyed hag’. Trapping Ariel in the oak tree also emphasized the magic people thought she had. They assumed she used magic to do it; “By help of her more potent ministers / And in her most unmitigable rage, / Into a cloven pine, within which rift / Imprisoned thou didst painfully remain”(I.II.328-331). I chose this quote because it expressed how she trapped Ariel. Sycorax died soon after and her son was left alone on the island until Prospero found him. Since sycorax might have had power, then theoretically Caliban was also suspected to possess the same power. This could have threatened Prospero, so he belittled Caliban and turned him into a slave. Prospero would tell Ariel stories of how Caliban was not human, but a monster; “Then was this island / (Save for the son that she did litter here, / A freckled whelp, hag-born) not honored with / A human shape” (I.II.334-337). In this quote, Prospero is belittling Caliban in order to gain more control over him and Ariel. Caliban is mentally weak so he succumbs to Prospero, but he is physically strong and still poses a
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