The Tempest Power Analysis

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The Tempest and the Power Needed to Rule
The main motif of the play The Tempest, written by William Shakespeare (ca. 1611), is the power that a ruler can exert over his fellows and followers. In the play, this ruler is given form in the main character Prospero, the Duke of Milan, who was overthrown by his brother Antonio and the rival Duke of Naples Alonso, and exiled to a deserted island somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea. Over the course of the play, Prospero uses power in a variety of ways trying to exact revenge on his brother. His goal is not to outright maim or kill the usurpers, but to gain a genuine admission of remorse from Antonio. However, towards the end of the play it becomes clear that – in spite of his almost unlimited external
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Thus, it can be argued that while Prospero’s external, magical powers are at their pinnacle on the isolated island, the power he requires to attain his goal remains out of his grasp.
The extent to which his external powers can reach is displayed in a variety of ways in The Tempest. The first kind of power is one focused through objects. These objects include his staff, described in the stage directions at line 5.1.33, and a ”magic garment“ (Shakespeare 1.2.24). In addition, he has learned spells and charms from spell books, which provide him with the means to conjure up physical sensations. For example, Prospero charms his daughter Miranda to sleep against her will: “Here, cease more questions:/Thou art inclined to sleep. ‘Tis a good dullness,/And give it way – I know thou canst not choose” (1.2.184-186) and threatens his slave Caliban with pains such
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His brother’s compatriots show remorse, Alonso saying “[t]hy dukedom I resign, and do entreat/Thou pardon me my wrongs” (5.1.117-118) and Gonzalez having professed regret much earlier in the play. The former’s remorse, however, is linked more to his despondency that his son is lost to him, rather than recognizing any particular abhorrent behaviour in invading Milan. Antonio, on the other hand, speaks not a word of regret. Thus The Tempest’s climax becomes almost anti-climactic, with Prospero’s wish to receive a sign of genuine regret from his brother unanswered. He then attempts to take satisfaction in the act of forgiving, but there too he seems thwarted, managing only a grudging tone while addressing his

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