The Tempest as a Power Struggle Between the New and the Old World

1920 Words Nov 15th, 2012 8 Pages
To what extent do you agree that The Tempest is a power struggle between the old and the new world?

Shakespeare’s Plays II
Assignment 1
Rocío Corral García
It is generally accepted that Shakespeare’s Play The Tempest is complex in many senses, but it cannot be denied that it is especially rich in terms of interpretation. A huge variety of critical analyses have been written about Shakespeare’s last play suggesting different possible approaches to it, such as human salvation, magic, colonisation and power. This essay will focus on the struggle between the old and the new world, which is one of the major themes in this play and that can be easily applied to politics and conspiracy in their more broad sense.
Prospero is a
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Prospero stands for the dominant part in his relationship with Caliban and his allusions to him are most the time is contemptuous. Prospero describes Caliban as: “Devil, a born devil on whose nature, Nurture can never stick”
This description of Caliban is quite similar to those descriptions of the “savages” by Captain John Smith who set the first English settlement in Jamestown, or to those descriptions given by Mary Rowlandson later in the XVII century. These descriptions fit perfectly with Prospero’s concept of Caliban, so maybe Shakespeare’s intention here is to make a direct link between the current accounts of the colonisation process and the situation of the play. Again, this makes a clear instance that the play wants to portray the confrontation between the old and the new world.
This clear struggle in the play between the new and the old world may be emphasized by political themes associated with Caliban’s conspiracy and Prospero’s colonialist control of the island. This essay will focus now on the political issue of the play. On the one hand, it may be clear that usurpation is the main political theme pervading the play. The possibility of usurpation is precisely what allows Prospero to legitimise and sustain his totalitarism on the island. Paradoxically, he was first
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