An Analysis of two of the characters in Shakespeare's the tempest

Essay by CaitieeHigh School, 12th gradeA+, May 2005

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The Tempest on one level is Shakespeare classic fairytale of spirits, sorcery, monsters, maidens and shipwrecked scheming noblemen. However the complex characters in this play are much deeper than mere fairytale favourites and the issues and themes provide great drama and many humorous moments. Shakespeare deals with a number of serious themes such as freedom, revenge and the supernatural. It can be argued that all of the characters go through a transformation during this play, however, the imaginative journey can particularly be seen in the central character Prospero and his magical slave Ariel.

Prospero was the Duke of Milan until his pursuit of knowledge got him into trouble; by neglecting his every day matters when he was Duke he gave his brother Antonio the chance to rise up against him

"The government I cast upon my brother, and to my state grew stranger, being transported and rapt in secret studies."

Prospero is a central figure who dominates and drives the action of the play through his magical powers. He is a master illusionist and enchanter who can control the elements and use them in his favour. This power has made Prospero Lord and master of the island and rendered him extremely powerful. His control of the elements can be seen when he creates the storm that shipwrecks his brother.

"Then to the elements

Be free, and fare thou well!"

Prospero begins the play as a very autocratic ruler of the island who lures his brother to the island in pursuit of revenge. We can see his autocratic most obviously in the way he treats those on the island. His treatment of Caliban seems vindictive and hateful as he treats him as less than human and refers to him as a monster and savage slave. He does appear to love...