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The Power Of Relationships In The Tempest

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1575 words Published: 27th Apr 2017

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The power-politics relationship in “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare that I found to be the most interested would have to be the relations between Prospero and his brother Antonio. Throughout “The Tempest,” the relationship between the two brothers consists of themes like abuse of authority series of insurrection, assessment, questioning authority and even betrayal and responsibility. I found all these themes to be the most interested because it can simply related to the modern world. Hence, in my mind I felt I can relate my feelings for one of the two characters. One of the characters such as Prospero, the protagonist, is depicted as a worthy man, who was taken over from his throne. As a reader I feel an automatic sympathy for this character. This allows him to be more allowance for wrong doing by creating room for it within my mind. Prospero know how to plays his subjects and as an sympathetic audience I am amuse in his game of manipulation. On the other hand, Antonio is displayed as an authoritative man, for example, the first thing Antonio does in scene I is expose his obvious evil natures by simply cursing the boatswain “Hang, cur, hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker, we are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.” (Act 1, Line 1, 34-35). This already has proven enough that Antonio is not the nicest duke. Hence, this is an early disclosure that he liked to be in control. Overall, the power-politics relationship between Prospero and Antonio can easily be viewed as Antonio trying to abuse and seek his brother’s power and throne for his own revolt. Personally, the kind of relationship between good and evil has always capture my full interested. The series of rebellion between this relations starts with Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, being droven away by his brother, Antonio, who illegally taken over the throne. While Antonio stole Prospero’s positioning as the Duke of Milan, hence, Prospero became increasingly engross in secret studies and falling to keep in mind to his brother’s schemes. Antonio literally did whatever he can possible to achive

his brother’s positioning of the new duke of Milan, thus, by arranged to have his brother Prospero and Prospero’s daughter Miranda killed secretly. But Prospero is widely known to be a good man, so those charged with his fate decide not to kill him.

“Being once perfected how to grant suits, How to deny them, who to advance and who To trash for over-topping, new created The creatures that were mine, I say, or changed ’em, Or else new form’d ’em; having both the key Of officer and office, set all hearts i’ the state To what tune pleased his ear; that now he was The ivy which had hid my princely trunk, And suck’d my verdure out on’t” (Act 1, Line 79-87). Based by this stanza, Prospero highly values and appreciate the brotherly bond more than Antonio. Prospero assumed his brother feels the same way about him and would be loyal to him.

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Instead, Antonio learned all the tricks of political betrayal while serving in the place of Prospero, and used them to betray his own brother. Prospero was the Duke of Milan twelve years back, but after being extremely intrigued with his studies of magic he left most of the governmental responsibilities to his brother Antonio, “whom next thyself / Of all the world I lov’d,” with the practical side of governing Milan (I.ii.66-78). He becomes so engrossed in his studies that he eventually almost gives his entire dukedom to Antonio without realizing it. Nonetheless, little did Prospero knows that Hungry Antonio sure would not mind to be an absolute Milan himself.

“I pray thee, mark me. I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated To closeness and the bettering of my mind With that which, but by being so retired, O’er-prized all popular rate, in my false brother Awaked an evil nature; and my trust, Like a good parent, did beget of him A falsehood in its contrary as great As my trust was; which had indeed no limit, A confidence sans bound” (Act 1, Line 88-97).

This stanza simply stated that Prospero suggests that Antonio’s taste of power awakened in him an even bigger desire for power. Prospero’s loyalty to his brother was so great, and his trust so complete, that he really did not see this coming. With that being said of course, simply allowed Antonio to take it farther. However, Antonio’s greediness for power is both foolish and clumsy. It seems hard to believe that Antonio ever could have risen successfully against his brother. The absurdly aggressive behavior of Antonio makes Prospero’s exercise of power in the previous and following scenes seem necessary throughout the play.

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When Prospero was stranded on the island, Prospero studied magic that would help him to get used to the island and survive. By studying his magic he planned that one day he would have revenged on his brother who had caused him harm. So as the play progresses, Prospero was able to use his magic and shipwreck Antonio’s ship who had exiled him to the island. But even so when his brother who had exiled him was merely at his mercy, he was able to rise above all the petty business that his brother has been dealt to him in the past, and was able to forgive the person who had hurt him the most, Antonio. Prospero’s forgiveness toward his brother confirm when he said, “For you most wicked sir, whom to call brother would even infect my mouth, I do forgive thy rankest fault” (V, i 149). Prospero was able to show mercy for Antonio and could have made his brother’s life horrible, but instead had a kind heart and just punished him in ways Prospero feels what his brother deserved. Prospero showed that one can only get so much from revenge. In the end, Prospero is portrayed as a generous, kind, loving and above all forgiving man. Since he could not even go through with punishing his brother it just simply makes us want to say, “give it to him, he deserve what he gets”. His sad story about how his own brother betrays him so that he may have a place in power really gives the audience the sense of why someone could do this to him. It might just give him the satisfaction because he did not even use magic for that. Everyone who Prospero surveys or met up with fears his powers, but seeing how it is, his revenge might just be to be able to let Antonio see what he have done, and repent from it. He especially acknowledges Antonio who he could barely face. He could have easily drowned Antonio on board if he so wishes, but through his benevolent nature, he commanded his spirit servant Ariel to make sure his brother was safe without harm whatsoever. Prospero actually seem judicious rather than arbitrary in his use of power. Seeing how Prospero study magic to get revenged, but in the end choose to do nothing seems wasted. Generally speaking, nothing is as hurtful as the betrayal of one’s brother. With all Prospero’s authoritative powers, he could have easily avenged himself a hundred times worst then what Antonio had did to him, but in the end he chooses to do nothing, except giving the gift of forgiveness.

At the end of Act V, Prospero forgives Antonio, but demands that Antonio return his dukedom. Antonio does not respond and does not, nor in fact, say a word for the remainder of the play. The dialogue between Prospero and Antonio in the last scene also shows friction between the brothers since that incident twelve years before. Antonio betrayed Prospero, and yet he feels no remorse for his treacherous act: ‘I feel not/ this deity in my bosom”, thusly, his conscience is not bothered by what he did to Prospero. The evil of Antonio helps legitimize Prospero’s dominion, in the sense that Prospero had no place to rule when he was first cast out to see, and that Prospero goes even further to forgive him in a way, for the wrong that Antonio committed against him. Prospero would only be contradicting himself by not forgiving Antonio, thusly, being someone who deserves it. In the end Prospero’s revenge and vengeance transforms into forgiveness; the most highly regarded Christian value and this is a result of being inspired by his puppets and their experiences therefore acquired back his dukedom. Prospero seeks revenge from his brother Antonio for taking his dukedom. Hence, he uses his magic and his trusty spirit Ariel to gain that revenge and his dukedom from his brother by staging a project into using a series of illusions to control each of his subjects.

Characteristically, Prospero is not very different from Antonio when standing the play and the colonial era next to each other. There are some basic observation that these two men have more in common than they do in disparity, and more so that he closely resembles the attitude of European colonists settling in the the modern world. Prospero is simply a ruler, bent for power, and to him, the end justifies the means. The only true difference between Prospero and Antonio may be that that Prospero is not quite as willing to kill as Antonio is, and that he may not be addicted to gaining power and fratricide as Antonio may be. Prospero is capable of forgiveness, as seen in the end of the play.


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