Virginity was often an important bargaining point‹most notably, for Queen Elizabeth, who used her eligibility to gain a great deal of power throughout her reign. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. He previously served as a theater studies lecturer at Stratford-upon Avon College in the United Kingdom. im in that situation too. Even though he does ultimately forgive his brother and the king, this could be considered to be a way to reinstate his Dukedom and ensure the marriage of his daughter to Ferdinand, soon to become King. As Prospero reminds him in Act I, scene ii, Ariel fell out of favor with Sycorax, and she imprisoned him in a “cloven pine.” Ariel remained stuck in the tree for twelve years, during which time Sycorax died, abandoning Ariel to an eternity of pain. Lee Jamieson, M.A., is a theater scholar and educator. However, our sympathies firmly lay with Prospero when we learn that Caliban had tried to violate Miranda. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, 'The Tempest' Characters: Description and Analysis, 'The Tempest' Themes, Symbols, and Literary Devices, Prospero: Character Analysis of Shakespeare's 'Tempest' Protagonist, M.A., Theater Studies, Warwick University, B.A., Drama and English, DeMontfort University. Not affiliated with Harvard College. The rightful Duke of Milan, Prospero was usurped by his brother, Antonio, and cast away on a boat. Prospero feels somewhat responsible for that. The main reason is that Ariel owes what freedom he has to Prospero. Although superficially encouraging us to sympathize with Prospero, Shakespeare questions the idea of fairness in The Tempest. Well, Prospero uses magic to manipulate and dazzle, just like Shakespeare. When Prospero arrived … Prospero is the central character in The Tempest and all the action revolves around him. its because he loved her but now he doesnt cause she is not pure. Plus, when Prospero renounces his magic, Shakespeare knows The Tempest is the last play he will write alone. If The Tempest is a play about power in various forms (as we observed in the previous scene, when the power of the storm disrupted the power relations between nobles and servants), then Prospero is the center of power, controlling events throughout the play through magic and manipulation. A lot of literary critics think Prospero manipulates the action of The Tempest like a skillful director. If Miranda's virginity is thrown away, then Prospero's greatest hope for regaining his estate and position is gone too; so Prospero tries his best to keep Miranda well-informed of her importance, and keep Ferdinand warned as to the potential consequences of his actions. For example: In the story of The Tempest, Prospero’s enslavement and punishment of Caliban is difficult to reconcile with fairness and the extent of Prospero’s control is morally questionable. http://www.gradesaver.com/the-tempest/study-guide/section4/. Caliban, of course, had tried to Rape her. Prospero is a mirror image of Sycorax, doing much the same things, but laterally reversed: he releases Ariel and tortures Caliban. Why is Prospero important in The Tempest? It would be unwise to focus solely on The Tempest as somehow representative of Shakespeare's farewell to the stage and thus overlook the many other important strengths of the play. Previous Scene 1 Her virginity is their prime bargaining chip in winning an advantageous marriage that will secure both of their positions; and if she does marry Ferdinand, their power back in Italy is secured for both of them. (We talk a lot more about this in "Quotes: Art and Culture.") Prospero seems preoccupied with Miranda's virginity because it is inextricably bound up with Prospero's own power. This analysis reveals that Shakespeare’s presentation of morality and fairness in the play is highly ambiguous, and it is not clear where the audience’s sympathies should lay. If Miranda's virginity is thrown away, then Prospero's greatest hope for regaining his estate and position is gone too; so Prospero tries his best to keep Miranda well-informed of her importance, and keep Ferdinand warned as to the potential consequences of his actions. Prospero's great concern foreshadows the importance of this theme in the betrothal masque; in the masque, Iris makes mention … Prior to Prospero’s arrival on the island, Ariel served Caliban’s mother, Sycorax. Propero, like most fathers at that time, wants to give away his daughter in a state of chaste purity. The similarities between Prospero and Sycorax throw Prospero’s … Caliban had once loved Prospero and showed him everything there was to know about the island, but Prospero considers his education of Caliban as more valuable. In the story of The Tempest, Prospero’s enslavement and punishment of Caliban is difficult to reconcile with fairness and the extent of Prospero’s control is morally questionable. Even when he forgives Caliban at the end of the play, he promises to “take responsibility” for him and continue to be his enslaver. Alonso and Antonio cruelly cast Prospero and Miranda out to sea, yet Prospero’s revenge is equally as cruel: he creates a horrific storm which destroys the boat and throws his noble counterparts into the sea. Here, too, the parallel is evident. Prospero uses his magic as a form of power and control and gets his own way in every situation. Copyright © 1999 - 2020 GradeSaver LLC. Prospero's great concern foreshadows the importance of this theme in the betrothal masque; in the masque, Iris makes mention that the couple cannot be together "till Hymen's torch be lighted," her language parallel to that in Prospero's earlier entreaty to the lovers. As the sorcerer Prospero breaks his staff, Shakespeare puts down his … The morality behind Prospero’s actions is highly subjective, despite the happy ending which is conventionally employed to “right the wrongs” of the play. Using magic, he is able to control the movements and all the actions of the other characters, which allows him not only to be the central character but also the actual author of the plot of the play.

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