This essay defines the family structures and the lack of family structures in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest".

Essay by muzicaitHigh School, 12th gradeA+, November 2003

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Family Structures or Lack Thereof

Within Shakespeare's Tempest there is little "normal" family structure. The majority of the characters either don't have mothers or fail to speak of them very frequently. Many might say that the family structure in the play is very weak due to the lack of maternal influences. On closer examination, however, there is much strength in some of the immediate families (i.e. Prospero and Miranda, and Alonso and Ferdinand). Only in reference to Ferdinand and Miranda, is true and loving marriage ever apparent. None of the shipwrecked men seem to have wives or make reference to having them. Very few have children except for Alonso. Yet throughout the entire play, the point is made that it is human nature to desire strong family connections, to be loved, and to have one's own sense of place and belonging.

There are two pairs of brothers in the play who have relationships full of deceit and distrust, which stem from jealousy or disdain.

An example of this is Prospero's appropriate feelings of disdain toward his lying, cheating brother, Antonio. Antonio overthrew Prospero from his position of Duke of Milan. I see this to be an act of jealousy, as well as a desire for power. Prospero's feelings are appropriate because Antonio not only overthrew him, but he put him on a ship with his young daughter in hopes of their death. Antonio doesn't find out that he failed to kill his brother and his niece until he is shipwrecked on the same island that Prospero and Miranda were shipwrecked on several years prior. The other pair of brothers in The Tempest is comprised of Alonso, the King of Naples, and Sebastian. Unsurprisingly, these brothers face the same conflict as the aforementioned brothers, Prospero and Antonio, although the plan to...