Prospero in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest"

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William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is, most probably, the last play he wrote entirely alone and has often been referred to as “Shakespeare’s Play” in that the character of Prospero seems to be orchestrating the actions upon the island in the same creative, artful…


With the help of some friends, Prospero was able to escape with his life and the life of his infant daughter in a small boat that was also provisioned with some food, fresh water, clothing and Prospero’s treasured books, which gave him the power he now wields over the elemental spirit Ariel and others. The two landed peacefully enough on the nearly uninhabited island, finding there only the abandoned son of Sycorax, a man called Caliban, and the imprisoned character of Ariel who has been trapped within the split trunk of a pine tree for the past twelve years after refusing to do the deeds requested of him by the evil witch. It was the freeing of Ariel that gave Prospero the ability to command the elemental and therefore to achieve all that has been achieved in the twelve years since he landed on that island. The action of the play, however, doesn’t start until Prospero’s daughter, the lovely Miranda, is of an age to be married and chance brings Prospero’s enemies, in the form of Alonso and Antonio, within reach of Prospero’s island domain. Although this action is started as a result of Prospero’s desire to exact revenge upon his brother and Alonso for exiling him for these several years, the play examines the nature of justice as it pertains to human nature as well as the relationships that form between master and slave based on the same human nature, eventually seeming to make the statement that justice, like many other things, is in the eye of the beholder.
Within the first act, it is possible to deduce that many of Prospero’s actions at this point are turned toward revenge against his usurping brother and the king that helped him. Although it was he that commanded the tempest be brought to sink the ship that Antonio and the King travel aboard, we know Prospero is not evil because he also commands that no harm should befall anyone as a result, not even the brother he wishes to punish. His feelings ...
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