The Tempest Research Paper

Decent Essays

William Shakespeare is perhaps the greatest literary writer of all time. His works are still being studied, read and performed today. Dramatist Ben Johnson was correct in stating that Shakespeare “was not of an age but for all time.” Shakespeare’s The Tempest demonstrates the timelessness of human nature and that the lessons portrayed in his play appeal to the reader, no matter the timeframe. These lessons are revealed through the themes of freedom, forgiveness and power. All individuals desire freedom. Shakespeare demonstrates that inequality exists in society, and that it is human nature to fight for one’s rights and freedoms. When Prospero conquers the island, he enslaves the native, Caliban, who is the son of the evil witch Sycorax …show more content…

This is most prominent in the character Prospero. Prospero was wronged by his brother, Antonio, who conspired with the king to usurp his dukedom and banish him to the island. In his quest for revenge, Prospero causes a tempest that shipwrecks the royals on the island. He punishes them by providing the illusion that Ferdinand has died in the shipwreck, while Ariel leads him off to fall in love with Miranda. Prospero further threatens the royals with “Worse than any death” (Shakespeare 3.3 95), which causes them to go insane with grief and regret. Prospero’s desire for revenge is evident when he states “Mine enemies are all knit up in their distractions. They now are in my power, [...] Young Ferdinand, whom they suppose is drowned, and his and mine loved darling” (Shakespeare 3.3 109). In his guilt, Prospero becomes sympathetic for the royals, especially Gonzalo, the noble lord who helped him survive the journey to the island. Prospero’s plans change, as he realizes that what he seeks is not vengeance but forgiveness and reconciliation. This is evident when he says “my nobler reason ‘gainst my fury do I take part. The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance” (Shakespeare 5.1 34). Prospero leads the royals into his magic circle, returns their mental state and forgives all who wronged him. This ultimately leads to happiness and Prospero getting his dukedom reinstated. Shakespeare shows that it is human nature to be controlled by one’s emotions and that once forgiveness is achieved, one can focus on goodness rather than hatred. Need

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