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Character Analysis Of Prospero

863 words - 3 pages


Prospero, of course, is the play. He is the exiled duke of Milan and the father of Miranda, as well as a powerful magician ruler of a remote island. The play revolves around him. He has more lines than any other character. His presence is felt continuously, even in those scenes in which he does not appear personally. He is the manipulator of the action in the play. The sometimes-godlike character is well rounded and full of contradictions, making him a difficult character to evaluate.
     In his judging, punishing, forgiving, and in many other ways, he is godlike compare to the rest of the characters in the play. Thanks to Ariel, he is also knows everything as well. Like a god, he punishes the guilty, but with grace he shows mercy and gives second chances. After Caliban attempts to rape Miranda, Prospero does not get rid of him. If I were Prospero, I would have a severe monthly payment punishment-plan installed for Caliban. Near the end of the play, after Properso reveals the conspiracies of all those against him, there is no harsh punishment as one would imagine. He basically just demands repentance. Forgiveness is one of the themes in this play, and here Prospero demonstrates it. Even though Caliban conspires with Stephano and Trinculo to kill him, he refrains from punishing Caliban (“Go, sirrah, to my cell;/Take with you your companions. As you look/To have my pardon, trim it handsomely.'; 5.ii.291-293).
     Prospero, however, also shows that he is not perfect, unlike a god. He makes the mistake of leaving the governing to his brother Antonio who then drove him out of Milan. Later, he lovingly educates the monster Caliban and gives him freedom. Caliban returns the kindness by trying to rape his daughter. Prospero makes the same mistake with both of them. He fails to keep them in their proper position. As a perfect ruler, this would be his responsibility.
     Late in the fourth act, Prospero interrupts Ariel masque when he suddenly overcome with rage at the thought of Caliban’s plot against him (“Go charge my goblins that they grind their joints/With dry convulsions, shorten up their sinews/With aged cramps, and more pinch-spotted make them/Than pard or cat o’ mountain.'; 4.i.259-262). This fury makes him a flesh-and-blood human being rather than a godlike figure. In that same scene, Prospero shows his human quality again when, for a while there, he is absentminded in forgetting the plot of Caliban against him.
     Is Prospero a tyrant? He controls and manipulates people in every scene with his magic. He is domineering and exploitative. He manipulates...

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