Prospero And Caliban In Shakespeare's The Tempest

Throughout the course of The Tempest, all Shakespeare’s characters are controlled by at least one passion. One desire, common to several of the characters, is the desire to rule. This is strongly rooted in Prospero, Caliban, and Stephano as they bend others to their rule by controlling them with their passions. Each one has their own capacity to rule and their success is determined by the methods they use, the way they conduct themselves, and whether they let their passions get the best of them. By the end of the play, Prospero and Caliban undergo a change that allows them to become better rules if they desire so, but Stephano only realizes his inability to rule properly without gaining any virtue.

Stephano is a poor ruler who operates on
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Caliban starts off as Prospero’s “...slave, who never yields [them] kind answer” (I.2.369) but Prospero acknowledges that “we cannot miss him. He does make our fire, fetch in our wood, and serves in offices that profit us” (I.2.372). Even though there is a bad reputation built around Caliban as a consequence of his birth mother and how he allowed himself to be ruled by his passions, Caliban still has a functioning role in society, despite his poor job of performing it. Prospero control him by physically punishing him, “his spirits hear me, and yet I needs must curse. But they’ll nor pinch...unless he bid ‘em” (II.2.3) Caliban character acts out impulsively is comparable to passion driven Cupid, but unlike Stephano, he can keep his focus on his goal. Caliban’s knowledge is restricted to what Prospero and Miranda have taught him, which he misused, and his knowledge of the island. Believing Stephano is “a brave god and bears celestial liquor” and submitting to him is a result from this. Caliban has enough knowledge to actually be the one ruling over Stephano with his knowledge of the island, which originally belonged to him. Caliban is not afraid of the island but instead appreciates its “sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not” (III.2.143) After Prospero gives the island back to him, Caliban claims “that I will, and I’ll be wise hereafter and seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass was I …show more content…
Stephano realizes he is not cut out to rule but undergoes minimal change. Caliban is forgiven of his past and given the chance to rule the island and his own. By seeing the change in Prospero, he is now changed and pertains a similar type of wisdom that Prospero had before he became a good ruler. Prospero recognizes faults that all the characters have and choices to learn from them, gaining qualities and virtues that he may not have had before, such as sympathy and

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