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Knowledge As Power in The Tempest Essay

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This essay deals with the figure of Prospero as master of Shakespeare's “The Tempest”, illustrating his power in all its expressions and explaining how it is based on knowledge. The first paragraph explains the context in which Prospero's power arises through the play and introduces his background and other main characters. In the second paragraph I discuss the relationship between Prospero and Caliban, a creature found in the island and submitted by the protagonist that attempts to civilize him. The third paragraph is about Miranda, Prospero's daughter. She grew up only with her father after the shipwreck, so he is the only example she can follow and he decides everything for her. In the forth paragraph I analyze two different levels of power that in my opinion we can recognize in the play: a practical level that presents us Prospero as master of the island, its inhabitants and nature, and a higher one, that illustrates us a kind of god, the real leader of all the situation.
Before you start reading “The Tempest” you look at the title and meditate upon it. We read a definite article preceding a common noun, nothing more. Then you go on reading the first scene, but no clues are given before scene two, where Miranda introduces Prospero. In few lines the reader discovers that the play is not about a storm, but about the ability of a man to dominate nature. Prospero was the Duke of Milan, but his jealous brother Antonio took Prospero's place because of his thirst of power. However Antonio was basically a coward, so he ordered to put his brother and little niece in a small ship to make the sea be their murderer. Here we have the key factor of the play: Gonzalo, a counselor of the Duke of Naples supplied the shipwrecked with basic ess...


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... can see Prospero as the master of the play: all the situation described is steered by him, he is the puppet master and all the characters represent his puppets. He plans step by step all that is going to happen, drives the behavior of everybody and conducts scene by scene all details of the plot, like a director filming his masterpiece. This is the higher level, that I think shows the real magnitude of Prospero's power. It is here that the comparison between him and god springs me to mind. God is the ruler of the world as much as Prospero is the ruler of the island.
In conclusion I can affirm that power is the real main character of the play. In particular power given by knowledge, since we know from Prospero's words that the books Gonzalo gave him are the real source of his magic that in turn is the source of power. As said it is shown in any different situation:


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