Defending Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay

:: 7 Works Cited
Length: 1772 words (5.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Defending Prospero in The Tempest

   In William Shakespeare's The Tempest, the character of Prospero brings about a great deal of debate. Modern literary critics are quick to use him as a poster child for English colonial practice in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Many see him as person who desires complete control of everything around him from the fish-like monster Caliban to his spirit servant Ariel, even his own daughter Miranda. Others believe that Prospero's sole motive is revenge on his brother Antonio and those associated with the established power in Naples and Milan. Taken out of context, these are reasonable conclusions. However, in the development of the play, it is quite clear that these critics are incorrect. Shakespeare does not use Prospero as the symbol of European expansion westward and although Prospero is quite powerful, he is not a power hungry egomaniac. Instead, Prospero is the very figure of a noble father. He loves his daughter so much that he sacrifices everything to give her the best opportunities for a good life. He is the slave of duty, working for the good of his people. His desire for revenge is also clearly not a motivation as he finds the strength to forgive his brother at the play's conclusion. Therefore it seems that Shakespeare's character is not being used to show the dark side of humanity, but rather the nobility of humanity and the model of a seventeenth century father.


When it comes to Miranda, Prospero can never do enough for her. Prospero's second lines states, "I have done nothing but in care of thee, of thee, my dear one, thee, my daughter" (Prospero, I, ii, 19-20). Although this line can be interpreted many ways, even as an outright lie, the assumption has to b...

... middle of paper ...

...ritical Study. " 336-82. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991.


Curry, Walter C. "The Characters of Shakespeare's The Tempest," Early Early Modern Literary Studies. Vers. 5.1. May 1999.


Dzelzainis, Martin. "Shakespeare and Political Thought." A Companion to Shakespeare. Ed.  David Scott Kastan. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1999. 100-116.


Gervinus, G.G. "A review of The Tempest." Shakespeare Commentaries. (1877):787-800. Rpt.  Scott. 304-307.


Sacks, David Harris. "Political Culture." A Companion to Shakespeare. Ed. David Scott  Kastan. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1999. 100-116.


Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Ed. Rex Gibson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995.


Snider, Denton J. "A review of The Tempest." The Shakespearian Drama a Commentary: The Comedies. (1890). Rpt. Scott. 320-324.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Prospero in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" Essay - Prospero in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" Prospero has long been read as one of Shakespeare’s most cherished and provocative protagonists. His timeless role in “The Tempest” has provided readers and critics with insights into many attributes of Shakespeare as a man, his works, and the political views that are personified in his play. The historical context of “The Tempest” is one that convincingly conveys the political views of the English people of his time, relating to the colonization of the New World, the expansion of British powers, and the domination of the indigenous peoples that was necessary for the British to thrive in the Americas....   [tags: Shakespeare Tempest Prospero Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1260 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest - The Greatness of Prospero in William Shakespeare's The Tempest        No man is an island. It takes a strong, mature man to forgive those who hand him misfortune. It takes a real man to drop to his knees and repent. The character of Prospero in Shakespeare's Tempest is a man who has suffered much. Prospero is a puppet master throughout the play, but releases everything to save himself from his own self. The enemies in the play are not those whom he shipwrecked, they are of little consequence, and he plays them easily....   [tags: Tempest essays William Shakespeare Papers]
:: 4 Works Cited
989 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Shakespeare's The Tempest - Is Prospero Good or Evil? Essay - Tempest:  Is Prospero Good or Evil?     To be able to answer this question we must first understand why Prospero can be seen as good or evil. It is fair to say that Prospero is a main protagonist to the plot of Shakespeare’s Tempest. It is due to Prospero's role as a key figure in the play that has put him under so much scrutiny. Many different Shakespearean critics have their own view of Prospero and those that read or see the play also have their own opinion of the way in which Prospero may be seen....   [tags: Shakespeare Tempest] 1001 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Prospero and Ariel in The Tempest by William Shakespeare - Prospero and Ariel in The Tempest by William Shakespeare Throughout the years since The Tempest was first published in the 1623 Folio, there has been much debate among Shakespeare’s contemporaries and critics as to the significance of the figure of Prospero and other major characters featured in the work. In this paper, I want to examine the figure of Prospero and his relationship with the character Ariel. In doing this, I want to show how Prospero is a figure for the artist, how Ariel is a figure for the poetic imagination, and how the relationship between Prospero and Ariel explores the relationship between the artist and his or her poetic imagination....   [tags: Tempest William Shakespeare Essays] 2317 words
(6.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Prospero and Caliban of William Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay - Prospero and Caliban of William Shakespeare's The Tempest   Within The Tempest, characters such as Prospero and Caliban share an intimate connection. Without some kind of malevolent force motivating the action of the play, none of the major characters would come into contact with each other. A violent storm, formed by Prospero's magic, subjects the foreign characters to the might of his mysterious power. Issues of control become a central part of The Tempest. One way in which this is highlighted is through the relationship between Prospero and Caliban, his bestial servant....   [tags: Shakespeare Tempest Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1028 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Character of Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay examples - Tempest Character Analysis        William Shakespeare's last play The Tempest is a story about Prospero (the rightful duke of Milan). He is betrayed by his brother Antonio and left on a ship with his daughter Miranda to die. Only things are not going according to plan and Prospero and Miranda arrive on an island. Prospero is seeking his revenge. Coming back from a wedding in Africa a ship containing Prosperos enemies is attacked by the tempest and scatters its passengers about the island. Prospero exhibits three major character traits: forcefulness, protectiveness and forgiveness....   [tags: Tempest essays] 628 words
(1.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about The Character of Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest - The Character of Prospero in The Tempest      The presence of Prospero is felt continuously in The Tempest, even in those scenes in which he does not appear personally. He is the manipulator of the action of the play, and occupies the center of the stage very markedly, especially if one compares his position with that of the central characters of, say, most of Shakespeare's history plays. For in the latter plays, England itself becomes the hero - the English crown, in its resistance to civil war and factionalism, and therefore there is usually no one character of quite the same stature as Prospero....   [tags: Tempest essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
1323 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Dictatorial Prospero of Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay - The Dictatorial Prospero of The Tempest        Motivation often propels people to achieve high goals. Sometimes, however, motivation is too strong a tool and can manifest into selfish desires. The exploitation of the weak invariably results from the strong abusing their power, especially in a political setting. In William Shakespeare's ‘The Tempest’, Prospero is displayed as a tyrannical character who spawns a disastrous storm as part of a grand scheme to regain his title of Duke of Milan. His subsequent treatment of each character in the play, even his beloved daughter are purely based on his self-centered motives....   [tags: Tempest essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1507 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Prospero’s Loss in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay - Prospero’s Loss in The Tempest     Shakespeare’s The Tempest is a play about loss - more specifically, Prospero’s loss. Prospero is a tragic hero, in a sense, because he makes the transition from having everything to having nothing. He loses his daughter. He brings his enemies under his power only to eventually lose control and release them. In the end, he gives up his influence on the world – including his incredible power over nature itself. The Tempest can be seen as a tragic play because of a few elements – Prospero is a dominant figure who must have revenge in return for the wrongs inflicted upon him, and, in his fury, he manages to destroy his enemies as well as his own humanity and...   [tags: Tempest essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
2032 words
(5.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Prospero’s Problem With Perfection Essay - Prospero’s Problem With Perfection: Why Magic Isn’t Enough Giovanni Pico’s Oration on the Dignity of Man promotes the perfectibility of mankind. In the oration, Pico presents a specific, sequential program for man’s spiritual ascendancy to godly flawlessness. And yet Pico’s program is dealt a literary blow in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest when the protagonist, learned mage Prospero, is unable to complete Pico’s curriculum and quits his magic entirely. The divergent view of man expressed in these two works exists on many levels, but I believe the essential tension is revealed in the role of a single character in The Tempest: the misshapen manservant Caliban....   [tags: Prospero Tempest shakespeare Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
2284 words
(6.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]