The Themes of Power and Ownership in the Tempest Essay

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The Themes of Power and Ownership in the Tempest

Ownership is a dominant and ever present theme in the Tempest; almost every character in the play is involved with the theme of ownership in the play. They are either the more dominant, or the one who is dominated in the relationship. Ownership is present right from the beginning of the play, as we see that Prospero creates a storm to shipwreck Gonzalo and his men, this immediately shows us that Prospero is a powerful character in the play, later when he is talking to Miranda we find out what makes her father the Powerful man that he is. Although the characters have become dislocated on the island there is still a sense of dynastic power. There are
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Prospero refers to his magic as an art where his can become “rapt in secret studies.” Prospero began practicing black magic whilst he was the Duke.

Miranda soon becomes uninterested with what her father is saying and she drifts off into her own thoughts. Prospero quickly orders Miranda to “Obey and be attentive”. From this Shakespeare shows the reader that Prospero is a powerful character; at this stage in the text Shakespeare shows the reader that the relationship between Prospero and Miranda is based around power, and not love. This is obvious, as Prospero is demanding his daughter understands he is powerful and that she realises his status. Prospero continues to give orders as if he is still the Duke of Milan; his mind set is that of a commanding individual. Throughout the scene Miranda seems to have a problem listening to her father, this time Prospero tells her to “mark me” as she drifts off again. The magician orders his daughter to listen to him five times in act 1 scene 2. Prospero uses a spell to hypnotise Miranda once he has finished speaking to her. Shakespeare uses this to show that Prospero is obviously becoming annoyed with Miranda.

In the introduction, written by Anne Barton she says that “Prospero’s explanation to

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