English 61- 002
In the play The Tempest, written by William Shakespeare, the
use of power is amongst the characters are very strong. The idea of power presents
itself in many different ways. For example, the power of love, magic and
illusion, the power of master over his slave, the aspiration for power amongst
all men. The main character Prospero takes
advantage of his authority and power, especially when it comes to his daughter,
Firstly, the relationship between Prospero’s and his
daughter Miranda (who is the only female character) is very strong. Although,
he does have a very strict control over her, especially anything related to sex
“Obey, and be attentive” (Act 1, Scene 2″). He is obsessed with the idea of
keeping her pure. But he also somehow has respect for her. Shakespeare shows Prospero as someone who loves
to use his power to control everything, and Miranda being one of them. However,
they do have the typical parent and child relationship. They do have disagreement,
but that doesn’t change the strong bond between them.
Prospero explains his suffering of being trapped and
isolated on the island. Miranda gains knowledge form her father, which makes
her an interesting character. At first, she comes off as a naïve teenager because
she everything her father tells her-as most children are. Until new people
start to arrive on the island. It becomes hard for Miranda to believe her
father. but she continues to because she does not have any choice since
Prospero has taught her everything she knows.
Prospero talks a lot about Miranda’s virginity. It is said
to be treated like a “treasure”, and that it needs to be protected,
especially my him. For example, when he prevented Caliban from raping Miranda
and infecting the island with baby Caliban’s. He stopped the potential threat
to the island that could have been ruled by Caliban and his off springs. In
some moments in the play, Miranda virginity is seen as innocence, virtue and of
course purity, which all see to make the island regain it naturalness. Rather
than the witch Sycorax who gave birth to Caliban.
Secondly, Prospero’s relationship with Ferdinand. When Ferdinand
first appears, Prospero treats him poorly. Ferdinand wanted to marry Miranda,
but Prospero quickly denies because he believed that Ferdinand is traitor. Prospero’s does pretend to dislike Ferdinand,
but he secretly wants him to marry Miranda. He puts Ferdinand to the test, he
makes him work for love.
Lastly, when Ferdinand and Miranda first meet, it was love
at first site. Miranda says to Ferdinand “I might call him a thing divine. For nothing
natural I ever saw a noble” (act I, scene II, pg. 4). She uses very descriptive
words to describe how much she likes him. Ferdinand then says to her “Most
sure the goddess on whom these airs attend! -Vouchsafe my prayer” (act I, scene
II), he sees her as someone that needs to be worshiped. During this encounter, Prospero
sees the attraction between them and immediately becomes protective of Miranda.
He wants to protect her like a good father would, as he did when he stopped Caliban
for trying to rape Miranda. However, as I
mentioned before, Prospero wanted Ferdinand to work for Mirandas hand in
marriage. As a father, this is a very loving thing to do for her because he wants
to make sure that Ferdinand is the perfect fit for her. But in a way, he still
wants to control the situation.
In conclusion, I believe Prospero started off as being power
hungry. The way he treated Ferdinand clearly shows use of his power and his inclination
to manipulate others to get what he wants. Though he is not disappointed with
the attraction between Miranda and Ferdinand, he does not want their love to
get in the way of his plans. Thus, he has no problem with taking advantage of
Ferdinand and deceiving his own daughter about how Ferdinand is unfit for her.
“The Tempest”, William Shakespeare, Dover thrift edition,