Despotism In The Tempest

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In The Tempest, Shakespeare many times takes the stance that despotism is not a stable form of government. Shakespeare exemplifies his stance on despotism by narrating prolific power shifts and frequent coups. In fact, the main plotline is about a duke, Prospero, whose title is usurped by his brother Antonio with the help of King Alonso. Then Prospero gets exiled to an island with only one inhabitant, Caliban. After Caliban has shown him everything about the island Prospero takes power and enslaves Caliban. Twelve years after his exile, Prospero gets a chance to exact revenge against the people who exiled him by shipwrecking their boat. On his island, Prospero shows Alonso and Antonio how they wronged him, they give him back his rightful dukedom, …show more content…
He is neither smart nor civilized, he is a native, and sometimes even portrayed as a monster. Caliban lives on the island before Prospero ever comes. He has no one to govern on the island except himself, “Which first was mine own king”(The Tempest I.II.342). Shakespeare is distinctively pointing out here that Caliban, having no subjects, is self-serving, unattached from any obligation to his people. Metaphorically saying that Caliban was self-governing. Bringing up the idea that maybe Caliban didn’t know about European governments. Once Prospero gets there, he forces this new type of government structure on Caliban becoming King of the Island. I believe this is a metaphor for the use of European government as a weapon, hurting people, overturning their original government. Making Caliban into a slave, subject to his king's wishes. Subsequently, at the end of the play, it does not say what happens to Caliban, only that Prospero plans to go back home. I think Shakespeare is trying to shine a bad light on it here making it look unappealing, deplorable, horrendous. Using it as a way to destroy others governments (Caliban's self-governing system in this case) and enslave their people by putting yourself in power as the

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