How does suffering affect one's actions? Do different types of suffering affect one in different ways? This paper seeks to determine how William Shakespeare's character's respond to various types of suffering. Suffering can be defined in two ways; physical suffering, in which the character is inflicted with physical pain and trauma, and emotional suffering, where the character suffers an emotional trauma or loss.
In The Tempest, the physically traumatized characters, are Trinculo and Stephano. They are chased by dogs but their physical trauma has not induced any sign of remorse or guilt. Ferdinand, on the other hand, is overcome by emotional suffering at the 'loss' of his son. In King Lear, Lear is plagued emotionally. He feels that he has lost the love of his favorite daughter Cordelia, and he feels the harsh hatred of his two evil daughters. At the conclusion of the play, his sanity is restored but he has suffered tremendously in an emotional manner at the hands of Regan and Goneril.
In Othello, Brabantio goes through emotional suffering when he must succumb to his daughter's wishes. Desdemona also goes through emotional suffering when she is accused by Othello of cheating on him when he is convinced of this by Iago.
In The Tempest, the theme of purification through suffering can clearly be seen. Prospero, in his long exile from Milan, has more than attoned for whatever mistake he might have made while he ruled. Ferdinand must suffer through Prospero's hardships and laborious tests before he can win Miranda's hand. Most significantly, Alonso must undergo the suffering that Prospero has designed for him before he is forgiven.
Prospero, who is the real Duke of Milan was overthrown 12 years earlier by his younger brother Antonio. Prospero was driven out of the island along with his daughter...