Why was Prospero banished?
Years before the action of The Tempest begins, two men conspired to assassinate Prospero, who was then the Duke of Milan. These two men were Prospero’s brother, Antonio, and the King of Naples, Alonso. The purpose of these men’s conspiracy was to remove Prospero from power and install Antonio in his place. Antonio succeeded in taking over the dukedom but the assassination plot failed because Gonzalo alerted Prospero to the plot and helped him escape from Milan on a rotting boat. As Prospero explains to Miranda in Act I, scene ii, they arrived on the island “By providence divine.” Although Prospero is clearly the victim of a foul plot against his life, he was not entirely blameless in the events that occurred. By his own admission, Prospero’s increasing obsession with the study of magic had begun to take more and more of his time. This obsession forced him to neglect his duties as duke and eventually hand the government over to Antonio. Though Prospero’s delinquency does not justify Antonio’s betrayal, it certainly enabled it.
Who is Ariel and why does he work for Prospero?
Ariel is a spirit who uses magic to help Prospero carry out his plans. Given Ariel’s evident power, it may seem odd that he would be willing to serve Prospero at all. So why does he do the magician’s bidding? The main reason is that Ariel owes what freedom he has to Prospero. Prior to Prospero’s arrival on the island, Ariel served Caliban’s mother, Sycorax. As Prospero reminds him in Act I, scene ii, Ariel fell out of favor with Sycorax, and she imprisoned him in a “cloven pine.” Ariel remained stuck in the tree for twelve years, during which time Sycorax died, abandoning Ariel to an eternity of pain. When Prospero arrived on the island, he found Ariel in torment: “Thy groans,” he explains, “Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts / Of ever angry bears” (I.ii.). Prospero freed Ariel from this prison, and he struck a deal in which Ariel would serve him faithfully for one year, after which he would be released from all service and return to freedom.
Why does Caliban hate Prospero and Miranda?
Caliban sees Prospero and Miranda as imperialists who took control of an island that he felt belonged to him. In a way, Caliban ironically mirrors Prospero, who was also violently unseated from power. However, whereas Prospero ended up free but in exile, Caliban ended up enslaved in his own home. Caliban resents the sudden and radical shift in his social position, going from the free ruler of the island to the servant of a tyrannical master. In addition to despising Prospero for enslaving him and divesting him of all power, Caliban also resents Miranda for the education she has given him. Miranda describes her efforts as selfless and guided by pity. However, Miranda’s educational program also intends to civilize Caliban, a “savage” who “wouldst gabble like / A thing most brutish” (I.ii.). Caliban sees Miranda’s apparently selfless act as an extension of her father’s imperialism. He also insists that the only good thing about being forced to learn her language is that he can now fully express his hatred: “You taught me language, and my profit on ’t / Is I know how to curse” (I.ii.).
How does Prospero manipulate Alonso and his company?
Throughout the play Prospero commands his servant Ariel to present Alonso and his company with visions of splendor and horror. These visions have a dual purpose. On the one hand, they are meant to keep the men disoriented. At one point Ariel even puts the men to sleep in order to disorient them further. As long as Alonso and his company remain bewildered, Prospero can control their movements and lead them through space as he pleases. On the other hand, the visions of splendor and horror are meant to break the men down emotionally and psychologically. This emotional breakdown is a crucial aspect of Prospero’s plan. Alonso must feel broken and defeated, so that when Prospero reveals that his son Ferdinand survived, the revelation will enable an authentic emotional resolution to their longstanding conflict. In other words, Prospero uses magic both to get revenge and to secure his own salvation.
Why does Prospero give up magic?
Near the beginning of Act V, Prospero stands alone onstage and delivers a speech where he lists his many accomplishments in magic. At the end of this speech, he tells himself that he will abandon “this rough magic” once he’s managed to resolve his conflict with Alonso and Antonio: “I’ll break my staff, / Bury it certain fathoms in the earth, / And, deeper than did ever plummet sound, / I’ll drown my book” (V.i.). In The Tempest, Prospero uses magic as a means to an end. Although his accomplishments in the magic arts have been great, magic itself remains “rough,” meaning either “crude” or “violent.” In short, magic is capable of great harm. And as Prospero describes in the first act, his obsessive study of magic is what cost him his dukedom in the first place. Prospero therefore uses magic to right a wrong and restore himself to power. However, once he accomplishes his goal, he resolves to abandon magic and rid himself of its corrupting influence for good.
Is The Tempest a tragedy or a comedy?
Though The Tempest is filled with drama, intrigue, and murderous schemes, it is ultimately considered one of Shakespeare’s comedies. Unlike his tragedies, which are filled with bloodlust and leave few, if any, characters left alive, The Tempest not only sees no death but also features numerous characteristics of Shakespeare’s comedies, such as mistaken identity, ongoing flirtations and relationship games, and the union of two lovers. It is also considered one of Shakespeare’s romances, combining elements of magic, redemption, and a love story that is not central to the plot.
Who causes the shipwreck at the start of the play?
The storm that causes the shipwreck is at first presented in Act 1, scene 1 as a natural disaster, but Prospero tells Miranda in scene 2 that the storm was actually his doing. Prospero sent his servant, the spirit Ariel, to wreak havoc by generating a violent storm while nonetheless ensuring the safety of everyone on board, thus bringing the stranded men to the island so Prospero could enact his revenge.
Who helped Prospero and Miranda escape?
When Prospero and Miranda needed to flee Milan, Gonzalo filled their boat with food, clothing, and Prospero’s magical books. Gonzalo had worked for Prospero when he was Duke of Milan, and even though he then served as counselor to Alonso, Gonzalo emphasized and continues to emphasize with Prospero and Miranda, and serves as a moral compass within the play.
What happens to Caliban at the end of the play?
After Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano plot to kill Prospero and steal his book, they are distracted by the ornate clothing that Prospero and Ariel set out to ensnare them. Ariel sets his spirit hounds on them, chasing them off. At Prospero’s request, Ariel later summons the trio, now wearing the stolen clothing. After being told to return it, they are tasked with cleaning Prospero’s cell. From here, Prospero pardons them, with Caliban promising, “I’ll be wise hereafter / And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass / Was I, to take this drunkard for a god / And worship this dull fool!”
How does Caliban describe the island?
As the only character in the play who is native to the island, Caliban holds a unique perspective. His monologue in Act 3, scene 2 allows him to break from the archetype of the Shakespearean fool and speak from the heart about his home: “The isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not…The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me, that, when I waked, I cried to dream again,” he says in a moment of uncharacteristic pathos. With this perspective, the reader is offered a sad but textured look into the life of Caliban, who knows this land best, and the way he yearns for what his now-colonized home used to be.
What tasks does Ariel perform for Prospero?
After Prospero freed the sprite from captivity, Ariel swore to fulfill tasks for Prospero for a year. With the arrival of the castaways, Ariel uses his invisibility to spy on them and report their happenings back to Prospero. He plays music to lull Antonio and Sebastian’s companions to sleep so he can thwart their plan to kill Alonso by causing Gonzalo to wake, and later makes Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban turn on each other before distracting them with music to keep them from killing Prospero. He also causes the banquet of Alonso, Gonzalo, Sebastian, and Antonio to vanish, and later summons spirits for Miranda and Ferdinand’s masque that showcase the benefits of marriage. In an effort to trap Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano, Ariel helps Prospero spring a trap by leaving clothing in Prospero’s cell, and then sending spirit hounds to chase them off. Finally, Ariel brings the boatswain and mariners, releases Caliban’s group, and ensures peaceful waters for the islanders’ voyage home.
What does Gonzalo say he would do if he were lord of the island?
In Act 2, scene 1, Gonzalo waxes poetic about his egalitarian vision for the island. His perspective throughout the play is idealistic, and Gonzalo dreams here of a place without labor, governance, wealth, or power—life would be leisurely, and everyone would live off the land, naturally and authentically.
What is the significance of Trinculo and Stephano?
A unique element of The Tempest is the presence of numerous comic relief characters or fool archetypes that serve different purposes. Where Caliban offers a unique perspective of the island as its original inhabitant, his fellow schemers Trinculo and Stephano play similar roles for the Milan royal court, as they are Alonso’s jester and butler, respectively. In contrast with Caliban, whose complicated and nuanced relationship with his homeland renders him somewhat pitiable, Trinculo and Stephano represent the rotted state of the king’s court, and how the promise of money or power can lead to messy affairs. The humor they provide not only adds levity to the play, it also helps to humanize Caliban as their characters become reduced to little more than selfish caricatures.
What is the significance of the masque in Act 4?
The masque allows Miranda and Ferdinand, and the audience, to learn about the significance of marriage. Juno, Iris, and Ceres not only offer a blessing to Miranda and Ferdinand, but reiterate the societal significance of such a rite. What’s more, because the goddesses celebrate and endorse the marriage, the couple has also received approval from the natural world. A life on either the mainlands of Italy or the island both offer very different potential futures for Miranda, and the masque advocates for an outcome from which Prospero would benefit, because Miranda entering into a marriage with Ferdinand, the prince of Naples, would reconnect Prospero to the country from which he was exiled and enable him to restore his legacy.
What happens to Ariel at the end of the play?
Having helped Prospero regain his title, ward off an assassination and, most importantly, see that Miranda and Ferdinand will soon be married, Ariel is tasked with setting calm waters for the travelers. From there, Prospero will finally grant Ariel’s long-awaited freedom.