William Shakespeare 's The Tempest

Decent Essays
William Shakespeare was one of the world’s greatest Renaissance era playwrights. His plays were a part of culture in Renaissance England. Everyone from King James to peasants came to see his works. However, his reign was coming to an end. With thirty eight plays written, Shakespeare decided that ‘The Tempest’ was to end his illustrious, prolific career. It is known that throughout this play the word ‘cell’ is used more frequently than in any of Shakespeare’s works. The uses of the word ‘cell’ throughout the Shakespearian play ‘The Tempest’ represents the common themes of power and imprisonment. ‘Cell’ is most commonly used to describe a miniature, isolated room. This reigns true as three individual groups of people are followed through…show more content…
Caliban’s mother, Sycorax, ruled the island before Prospero and his daughter. Therefore, the deserted island technically belongs to him. Caliban says “This island’s mine by Sycorax my mother, which thou tak’st from me.” (I.ii 19).
It is a common theme for the nobility to suppress the other people on the island to maintain their status of power. While their subjects may not be kept in a physical cell, they are placed in a cell of restrictions. Perhaps the most famous prisoners within the cells are Ariel and Caliban. Ariel was trapped in a tree because of the sinful witch, Sycorax. Upon arriving on the island, Prospero frees him from the trunk of the tree and makes Ariel his subject (I.ii 17). Ariel is sometimes hesitant to perform Prospero’s spiteful tasks. Another sign of captivity between Prospero and Ariel is the way Ariel refers to Prospero. In line 318 of Act I Scene II, he obeys Prospero and says, “My lord, it shall be done.” However, the two benefit from each other. Ariel also acts as a guide for Prospero by grounding him against his narcissistic tendencies while Prospero takes care of the ethereal spirit. Caliban, however, despises the sight of Prospero. In Act I Scene II, Caliban describes the care that was provided by Prospero: he taught him language; he cared for him as he grew, and he gave him delicious wine. Bitter due to the usurping of his rightful kingdom, he manages to keep his distance from Prospero (I.ii 19). Disobeying his master’s rules, Caliban
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