Explore the theme of rebellion in the first 3 acts of 'The Tempest'
Rebellion is definitely an important theme throughout the play. Every character has committed an act of rebellion at some point in The Tempest. The subject of rebellion was very important to the audience at the time because of the risk of rebellion at the time against James I, who was the monarch.
There is a lot of rebelling against masters, as shown by both Ariel and Caliban. In act 1 scene 2, Ariel asks Prospero for his freedom from the magician's service, but is declined, and Prospero reminds him of what he freed Ariel from ("I must once in a month recount what thou hast been, which thou forget'st." I.ii.262-264). Prospero tells that the reason Sycorax …show more content…
Even before the first events of the play took place, there was a history of rebellion between Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan and his brother, Antonio, the man who usurped him. Before being betrayed by his brother, Prospero was a negligent Duke, spending all his spare time in his study practising magic, and rebelling against the rules of society ("And rapt in secret studies" I.ii.77). Antonio, on the other hand, rebelled against the wishes of his brother by taking advantage of the power Prospero had bestowed upon him, and usurped him of his dukedom ("in my false brother awakened an evil nature; and my trust like a good parent, did beget of him" I.ii.92-94 & "he needs be Absolute Milan" I.ii.109-110).
Gonzalo is the only character who can be debated in the discussion of rebellion. He does indeed show some rebellious streaks, though they a very subtle. For instance, in the first scene of play, Gonzalo vey politely disobeys the Boatswain's command ("Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard" I.i.19). Then in his "Utopia" speech in Act 2 scene 1, Gonzalo describes a seemingly perfect world where "all men idle" and there is no "name of magistrate" (II.i.147-156). This is more rebellious to the Jacobean audience watching the play than it is towards the other characters in the play, because Gonzalo is describing a world