How do Prospero and two Other Characters of Your Choice Change in the Course of the Play? Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 7 July 2017

How do Prospero and two Other Characters of Your Choice Change in the Course of the Play?

How do Prospero and two Other Characters of Your Choice Change in the Course of the Play?

The Tempest is considered to be one of Shakespeare’s last plays written. It explores the concept of change and forgiveness along with power. In this essay I am going to explain how three characters, Prospero, Miranda and King Alonso’s attitude and behaviour change throughout the play. I will explore how Prospero goes from surviving off his magic and perhaps being a little over-protective towards his daughter, to realising that he needs to learn to let go and that there is more out there than just power. I will also say how Miranda goes from being quite shy and unaware of anything that isn’t related to the island, to discovering love; and also finally how King Alonso repents his sins after all this time.

Firstly, I will discuss how Prospero’s attitude changes as the play unfolds. Prospero is the over-thrown Duke of Milan. He has a daughter called Miranda and an evil brother, Antonio. King Alonso, along with Antonio, helps over-throw Prospero but a loyal councillor, Gonzalo, saves him and Miranda by giving them food and water, and also Prospero’s magic books, which he prizes dearly. When Prospero first reaches the island he comes across a creature called Caliban, who, at first, he treats and cares for. This relationship continues until Caliban tries to disrespect his daughter. From then on he is Prospero’s slave.

Caliban’s mother, Sycorax, has a spirit imprisoned, which Prospero rescues from a ‘clover pine’. Ariel, the spirit, now helps Prospero in his life.

We first meet Prospero in Act 1 Scene 2, just as he is explaining to Miranda that the shipwreck he caused has hurt no one, ‘Tell your piteous heart there’s no harm done’. This shows that although he wants to cause these people complications, he is not a murderer. He then goes on to tell Miranda the truth about how they came to be on this island, ‘Tis time I should inform thee farther.’

The fact that Prospero is willing to let Miranda know more about her life shows that he is aware that Miranda is growing up and that he must let her know more about her past. As the play progresses we see that as well as Miranda being a big part in Prospero’s life, his magic also plays a very big part in it. He prizes this skill amongst all others, ‘above my dukedom.’ In this sentence we can see that maybe Prospero may have concentrated more on his magic than his ‘job’. This could have been one of the reasons why his brother wanted to over-throw him. Magic was not thought highly upon in the time the play was written.

We also see throughout the play how Prospero’s relationship with Caliban and Ariel differ. Although Caliban and Ariel are both Prospero’s slaves, he treats Ariel with respect and trusts her. ‘Thy charge exactly is performed.’ Prospero’s praise shows that he is a kind person at heart as long as you can please him and stay on the right side of him. It also shows that perhaps he has more respect for creatures with magical talents. Prospero treats Caliban with no respect whatsoever and also sends him to do all the ‘dirty’ jobs. Prospero is like this obviously because Caliban tried to rape Miranda, he must now be punished.

Further on in the play, when Ferdinand arrives, we see Prospero give a fine example of his protectiveness for Miranda. He calls Ferdinand a ‘spy’ and tells Miranda not to associate herself with him, ‘Speak not you for him: he’s a traitor.’ This now shows that although Prospero is starting to accept the fact that Miranda is growing up, by telling her about their past, he still cannot yet accept that she will find love and one day part from his company. It also shows that Prospero may feel threatened that Ferdinand may take Miranda away from him. Although Prospero seems to despise Ferdinand and Miranda being together, we see later on that they do in fact, play quite an important role in Prospero’s ‘plan’. At this point in the play he is still relying heavily on his magic.

Finally, towards the end of the play we see Prospero giving in to the things he holds dear to him. He accepts that Miranda has fallen madly in love with Ferdinand and that he cannot stop her growing up, even with all his power. He finds that magic is not the answer to everything, ‘I have given you hear a third of mine own life…now my charms are all o’erthrown and what strengths I have’s my own.’ Prospero also recognises that forgiveness is greater than vengeance. ‘Sir, I invite your highness and your train to my poor cell.’ All of these things show that Prospero in being in this island has learnt some key things in life and about himself. It also shows that being marooned there for all those years helped him grow into a better person.

I will now explore how Miranda’s character opens up throughout the play. Miranda is the son of Prospero and arrived on the island aged about three. She doesn’t remember much about her previous life in Milan. At first, Miranda appears almost in Prospero’s command, ‘O my heart bleeds to think o’th’teen that I have turned you to.’ As she knows nothing about her previous life and he is the only man she knows of, she looks up to him like a servant would to his master. It is clear that Miranda has utmost respect him.

She is aware that he does not conceal to her about her past life in Milan, ‘You have often begun to tell me what I am, but stopped,’ but now she is ready to know more; she is more mature than Prospero takes her for. Prospero holds Miranda back. As the play moves forward, very slowly, Miranda starts to grow into an adult. She starts to challenge Prospero, ‘O dear father, make not to rash a trial of him,’ Miranda is now gaining confidence in herself instead of ‘just standing in the shadows’.

She also finds love in the form of the King’s son, Ferdinand. She can never remember seeing a man other than Prospero before, so as she looks upon him, she thinks that he must be a spirit. Finally, by the end of the play Miranda has developed into a woman. There is still one thing that suggests Miranda still has a lot more to learn about real life; when she looks at the villains she still mistakes them from people of a ‘brave new world’. Apart from this she seems to be a ‘new person’: she is to marry Ferdinand and she can now speak out for herself as she wishes or sees fit, ‘If you’ll sit down.’ In saying this she indicates that she is very much more in command of her own life and what she says now.

Finally, I will explore how King Alonso’s attitude and behaviour changes throughout the play. Alonso is the King of Naples who has a brother, Sebastian and a son, Ferdinand. He plays a part in helping Antonio over-throw Prospero. He is on his way back from his daughters weeding when we first encounter him and at once we get the feeling of great power, ‘Good Boatswain, have care where’s the master…’ ordering one of the crew members about when it’s not his ship to control shows that he wants to/needs to know what is going on all the time. We do not meet him again properly until half way through the play, where he is roaming the island, having been separated from his son. At this point, although he does not know it yet, he is already part of Prospero’s ‘plan’.

Gonzalo is trying to comfort the King but Alonso receives comfort like ‘cold porridge’. ‘Prithee, peace…I prithee, spare.’ By saying this he is showing that he does not like to be told what to do or what to feel, he does what he wants and doesn’t like anyone else interfering. He also assumes that his son is dead very quickly, ‘No, no, he’s gone.’

This shows that either King Alonso is very strong mentally and can accept the truth quickly or conceals his emotions very well. We Meet Alonso again at the end of the play where everyone is brought together, the King, assuming his son is dead all this time is over-whelmed with joy to see Ferdinand playing chess with Miranda In Prospero’s cave. ‘Now all the blessings of a good father compass thee about,’ even thought he assumed and accepted that his son had died very quickly we now see that he does care and love his son very much, as much as Prospero loves his magic and daughter. In the end King Alonso repents all his sins, ‘Thou pardon me my wrongs,’ by repenting his sins Alonso is showing us that he is a very mindful character and can accept that he has done wrong and is aware that he needs to take responsibility for his own actions.

Throughout the whole play there is a great amount of change going on, whether it be Prospero giving up his magic or Caliban repenting his sins. I believe that this play is built with a moral behind it. At the end of The Tempest everybody is bought together and we find out how different everyone is as well as how they feel about each other truthfully.

Although Prospero has been on the receiving end of so many wrong doings, he can still forgive them all, including his unrepentant brother, Antonio. Some of the characters: Gonzalo, Caliban and King Alonso ask for his forgiveness and repent their sins. Others: Sebastian and Antonio do not and still believe that he got all he deserved. This shows that they are in some ways ignorant and not as ‘big’ as those who asked for forgiveness, it takes a bigger man to own up to what he has done.

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