How Is Patriarchal And Gender Power Shown In Shakespeare's 'the Tempest'?

906 words - 4 pages

The ideas of patriarchal and gender power are illustrated extensively in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' through the relationships portrayed in the play, and the play's symbolic depiction of colonialism.First and foremost, 'The Tempest' was written in the Jacobean period - a period where society was still most strongly patriarchal. This can be seen as 'the Tempest' is set in a completely patriarchal society; where all positions of power are held by males. In fact, 'The Tempest' has only one visible female character, Miranda, whilst other women, such as Caliban's mother Sycorax, Miranda's mother, and Alonso's daughter Claribel, are only mentioned. Miranda is typically viewed as being completely deprived of freedom by her father, her only duty in his eyes being to remain chaste. The less-prominent women of the play are also seen as inferior, as they are only described through the men of the play. For example, most of what is known about Sycorax is told through Prospero. The women of the play are never responsible for moving the action forward, but serve only as a ground upon which the action moves forward.The relationship between Prospero and Miranda strongly depicts the ideas of patriarchal and gender power. At first, when Prospero tells Miranda of his exile from Italy, it is her passionate youth that the reader sees in her exclamations of concern, "O the heavens!" and "Alack, for pity!" (Act I, scene ii). This scene shows the audience how tender, yet astonishingly one-sided the relationship between Prospero and Miranda is, as although Prospero has lived alone with his daughter for twelve years, he has not told her why they live alone on the island. Miranda plays a role of only social value as company to her father as he has complete control over what she sees and hears through the use of his 'Art', further defining the manipulative nature of this father-daughter relationship. When Miranda appears in Act V, scene i, she appears only after being revealed behind a curtain by her father. Her final lines, "O brave new world / That has such people in't" (Act V. scene i) while superbly hopeful, are also straightforwardly ironic. The isolation her life forced upon her has made her mistake a cast of males, which the audience knows only too well to be deeply flawed, for 'brave'.In Shakespeare's day, most of the planet was still being 'discovered', and stories were coming back from distant islands, with myths about the Cannibals of the Caribbean, faraway Edens, and distant tropical Utopias. With the character Caliban, Shakespeare may be offering an in-depth analysis into the morality of colonialism. Different views of the morality of colonialism are also discussed through events such as Gonzalo's Utopia,...

Find Another Essay On How is Patriarchal and Gender Power shown in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'?

Fate and How It Is Shown in Four Classic Novels

2105 words - 9 pages what decided what his fate is. If people’s fate were set how would it be fair to punish someone for his or her crimes? Human being have free will, therefore they choose their actions. What one does in his or her life decides their fate. This is shown in the books The Prince, Macbeth, The Oresteia, and The Divine Comedy. God is the one who decides what happens to someone during their life, but humans can influence his decision and ultimately

Caliban in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essay

1868 words - 7 pages be presented as such, Caliban is in fact a human being and not a monster, misunderstood only because Prospero, the colonizer, has unjustly depicted him as being merely a primitive native. At the time of The Tempest, settlers began moving out of Britain to colonize America, Africa and parts of Asia. Laying a claim to overseas territory was becoming increasingly important to national identity and power. The voyages of Christopher Columbus and

50 Cent & and how he is shown in the music industry

1679 words - 7 pages talks about his own life in his songs and how his has struggled through childhood but by obeying one rule, "get rich or die trying" he is now living the life of his dreams. This may also appeal to a lot of other young people in the world but other rappers e.g. Nelly talk more about a fantasy world, where he is living in a town called Nellyville (named after him) everyone sees him as the no.1 person and girls just die to get a glimpse of his good

Women in Elizabethan England and Shakespeare's Miranda in The Tempest

3502 words - 14 pages Women in Elizabethan England and Shakespeare's Miranda in The Tempest Treatment of women has evolved much since Elizabethan England. As a preface to the dissection of The Tempest – in particular, the character of Miranda, Shakespeare’s role for women as a whole must be addressed. According to Carolyn Ruth Swift Lenz’s introduction of Woman’s Part, “patriarchal order takes different forms and is portrayed with varying degrees of emphasis

Apparitions and the Supernatural in Shakespeare's The Tempest

2326 words - 9 pages     What immediately strikes the audience about The Tempest is the use of the supernatural in the form of apparitions like Ariel and the Harpy. These apparitions are under Prospero's authority and the result of his Art, which is the disciplined use of virtuous knowledge. By invoking a masque to celebrate the betrothal of Ferdinand and Miranda, Prospero effectively brings to full circle the theme of re-generation by obliterating the evil done

Romance and Anti-Romance in Shakespeare's The Tempest

2201 words - 9 pages try to usurp his power after what they have all just experienced. Finally proof to the fact that The Tempest is a romantic play can be found within the characters themselves. Gonzalo is the constant assurance that the play is that of romance and not of revenge due to his prominence in Prospero's romantic history. He is set up to be a sort of hero that even Miranda praises in her hopes to one day meet him. Prospero himself is conscious of romantic

Opposition between Art and Reality in Shakespeare's The Tempest

1181 words - 5 pages Opposition between Art and Reality in The Tempest       The Tempest is a self-reflexive play that explores the boundaries of art and reality. Shakespeare's island is a realm controlled by the artist figure; where the fabulous, the ideal and the imaginative are presented as both illusory and palpable, and where the audience is held in an indeterminate state, a "strange repose". The juxtaposition of the world of art with political and

Resolutions of Forgiveness, Repentance and Reconciliation in Shakespeare's The Tempest

1423 words - 6 pages Stephen Orgel, in the Oxford World Classics Introduction of The Tempest, says that the resolutions of forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation through the harmony of marriage that Prospero has undertaken to achieve are not completely met. This is true as not all injuries are forgiven, and certain characters fail to repent for their wrongs. The marriage does not completely achieve its role of reconciliation, as we have to question its origins

Gender differences in the Tempest and Things Fall Apart

1104 words - 4 pages , and the women are looked at as objects, whose main duty is to tend to the children and obey the husband without a question. While at first glance, the Shakespearean play Tempest seems different from Achebe’s book, in reality, similar themes lie at its center, including the abuse of women and male power dominating throughout the play. While the only female character is a young girl, who is a puppet of his father’s will, she has courage to be

The Themes of Power and Ownership in the Tempest

2138 words - 9 pages his chance by the manipulation of Miranda. Prospero does not show any evidence to prove he is happy for the young couple, the entire time we see that the magician is thinking how the outcome of the event will benefit his own aspirations. Acts 1 scene 2 Prospero and Ariel. Shakespeare has shown the reader that Prospero uses his status to gain power over other characters in his relationships with them. For example

European Colonization in Shakespeare's The Tempest

1306 words - 5 pages of Indians for their own good. If Shakespeare's play does comment upon European exploration and colonization in the Western Hemisphere, however, The Tempest does not contain a critique of exploitation, but, instead, an apology for it. Caliban was initially treated as an ignorant child and only put under wraps after he attempted to force himself upon the completely innocent Miranda. The charge of "rape" is made more credible in having Miranda

Similar Essays

The Abuse Of Power In Shakespeare's Play, The Tempest

992 words - 4 pages The play, The Tempest, by William Shakespeare is a very cleverly thought out piece of work. Shakespeare very deliberately inter-relates several different forms of power during the course of the play. There is political power, shown through the plethora of political characters and their schemes, while at the same time parodied by the comic characters. The power of magic and love, and its ability to reunite and absolve also plays a major role in

To What Extent Is Shakespeare's Play The Tempest About The Power Of The Theatre?

1091 words - 4 pages To What Extent is The Tempest a Play About the Power of the Theatre?There can be no doubt that The Tempest contains numerous references to the theater, and while many of Shakespeare's plays make reference to the dramatic arts and their analogy to real life (e.g., "all the world's a stage"), it is in this, his last play, that the Bard most explicitly acknowledges that the audience is viewing a show. Thus, in the play's final scene Prospero tells

Exploring Shakespeare's Presentation Of The Theme Of Power In The Tempest

1968 words - 8 pages Exploring Shakespeare's Presentation of the Theme of Power in The Tempest In 'The Tempest', power manifests itself in many different forms. Three of the main types of power that Shakespeare explores are the power of love, the power of magic and illusion and the power of a master over his slave. He presents these forms of power in a number of ways. In 'The Tempest' Prospero appears to hold the majority of the power

Art And Nature In Shakespeare's The Tempest

1151 words - 5 pages art is weaker and must bend itself to nature. In The Tempest, Shakespeare’s Prospero has gotten himself into trouble by entertaining an insatiable thirst for knowledge.  Prospero’s downfall was brought about because he valued knowledge and art over pure power.  Through Prospero, Shakespeare questions the validity of man’s quest for art and beauty.  However, the question is resolved in the end of the play when Prospero once again becomes a