Presentation on theme: "Prospero was usurped of his title as Duke of Milan by his brother, Antonio, who then cast him away on a boat with his baby daughter, Miranda. The pair."— Presentation transcript:
Prospero was usurped of his title as Duke of Milan by his brother, Antonio, who then cast him away on a boat with his baby daughter, Miranda. The pair wash up on a mysterious isle. This is when Prospero takes over the isle from Caliban. He also frees a spirit called Ariel and makes him his servant alongside Caliban. Chaos ensues after fate brings Prospero’s enemies near the isle so he takes the chance to reclaim his position.
How does Prospero’s behaviour change throughout the play? Prospero is often seen as a ruthless and determined character. It seems that he does not change his behaviour so he can manipulate other characters. Most of his efforts always go into manipulation and control. “Now does my project gather head” Act V Scene I, line I
Our first impression of Prospero is that he is cruel because we see him cause a disastrous tempest then exert power over his slaves: Caliban and Ariel. “For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt/have cramps,/Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up.” Act I Scene II, line 324-326 Caliban represents his darker side whilst Ariel represents the lighter. He treats Caliban harshly to get what he wants and utterly despises him. His thirst for control never ceases – even in Scene V he is controlling his enemies. The treatment of his enemies is pretty terrifying - he threatens Caliban with violence and emotionally traumatises Gonzalo, Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian.
An example of Prospero’s darker traits is the fact he contradicted himself when he usurped Caliban of his position as ruler of the isle. Although it could be argued that it is deserved after Caliban’s attempted rape of his daughter but technically Prospero committed an act that was committed against him previously. It shows that human nature and the hunger for power never changes. “At this hour/Lies mercy all mine enemies” Act IV Scene I, Line 268
As mentioned, Ariel represents his lighter side. Prospero does show some minor change in behaviour. He shows affection towards Ariel because the relationship with this slave includes positive reinforcement. That being said, both slaves are eager to be released by their master. “My brave spirit!” Act I Scene II, Line 205 “You said our work should cease” “I did say so, when I first raised the Tempest. Say, my spirit,/How fares the King and’s followers?” Act V Scene I, Lines 3-6
An example of Prospero using cruel behaviour is found with Miranda and Ferdinand. Prospero intends for Miranda to fall in love with Ferdinand, this happens instantaneously but Prospero uses his manipulation skills on the couple to ensure that Ferdinand does not think he can get her so easily. Prospero accuses Ferdinand of lying and sends him away to do work that only Caliban would be required to do. Ferdinand realises he must earn Miranda. The fact that Prospero cares for his daughter shines through and this shows that he is not a purely evil character. The difference is that his cruel behaviour is for a positive reason.
Prospero treats them to a pre-wedding celebration where he conjures up spirits who bless the happy couple. It is noteworthy that Prospero never intends to harm or kill any character. He may taunt and terrify but none of his acts equate to the blood thirsty nature of Sebastian and Antonio or the attempted rape by Caliban. “There’s no harm done” Act I Scene II, Line 16 “No harm./I have done nothing but in care of thee - /of thee, my dear one, thee my daughter.” Act I Scene II, Line 15-17 “But are they, Ariel, safe?” Act I Scene II, Line 216
Most of his acts are intended for revenge because his character has been wronged by so many, which also includes the plot for revenge committed by Trinculo, Stephano and Caliban. Therefore, Prospero does have a capacity for caring but mainly he focuses on manipulation and revenge. “But this swift/business/I must uneasy make” Act I Scene II, Line 449-451
Overall, the behaviour we see from Prospero in the play always reflects his authoritative and dominant position of power. He seeks out revenge and uses all his efforts to teach a lesson to all of the characters. The following list shows that Prospero’s behaviour is patterned : -He teaches Ferdinand that in order to marry his daughter he must value her. -He teaches Miranda not to submit easily to her impulses. -He teaches Antonio, Sebastian and Alonso that their betrayal and attempted murder, (by Antonio and Sebastian) will never be truly forgiven. -He teaches Trinculo, Caliban and Stephano that they cannot get away with theft and attempted take-over of power. -He teaches Caliban that if he acts like a monster, (albeit defined by modern society’s laws) then he will be treated like one.