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.
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