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As the play progresses, Prospero dramatically changes. In Act 1 Scene 2, Shakespeare presents Prospero as a powerful, calculating and commanding character. Also in Act 1 Scene 2, he manipulates and controls Ariel. However, in Act 5 Scene 1 he changes dramatically. Whilst he remains powerful and commanding, us as the audience get a completely different impression of him from the way he acts and by the tone of his voice. We begin to see a more merciful, forgiving character. In Act 1 Scene 2, Prospero is full of vengeance. We know this because he creates the tempest as part of his revenge, “the tempest that I bade thee”.
The audience get the impression that he is an evil and tyrannical individual. It also evokes sympathy from the audience for the ones he is attempting to get revenge from. Whereas in Act 5 Scene 1, Prospero is willing to reconcile. We see an example of this when he tells Sebastian and Antonio that he will not tell Alonso about their treason plot, “I will tell no tales”. This shows the audience that Prospero really does want to sincerely reconcile and that he can be compassionate. This is done in an aside; therefore only the audience, Prospero, Sebastian and Antonio hear this.
This excites and involves the audience; enhancing the performance. Throughout the play Prospero’s relationship with Ariel varies from Act 1 Scene 2 to Act 5 Scene 1. In Act 1 Scene 2, Prospero uses harsh tone of voice and imperative verbs to manipulate Ariel. Frequently through out the scene Prospero uses one-word commands when speaking to Ariel, “Speak. Tell me! … Go! … Hence”. This shows the audience that Prospero is in command and also shows that Ariel is subservient to Prospero. But in Act 5 Scene 1, Prospero uses a softer tone and a more gentle voice.
He still uses imperative verbs, but in this scene, he doesn’t use them to manipulate Ariel. For example when he commands Ariel to do something, “Fetch me the hat and rapier in my cell”. This shows the audience that he is still being commanding but by not using a harsh tone he makes Ariel feel as though he is no longer compelled to carry out Prospero’s orders but he now has a choice. Also, in Act 1 Scene 2 Prospero just utilizes Ariel to gain revenge over his usurpers. In this scene, Shakespeare uses uncompassionate phrases to show that Prospero cares only about his revenge and not what Ariel is feeling or thinking; “Is there more toil?
” (Ariel), “there’s more work” (Prospero). This evokes the audience to think that Prospero is completely selfish and heartless. However in Act 5 Scene 1, Prospero starts to value and heed Ariel’s opinions. There is an example of this when Ariel tells Prospero how guilty and sorry his usurpers feel. He tells Prospero that he would feel sorry for them if he were human. Prospero shows he values Ariel’s opinions, “Dost thou think so, spirit? “. This demonstrates to the audience that Prospero has changed significantly and that he is a more compassionate and loving character.