Miranda, Ferdinand,And Prospero Essay

1078 words - 4 pages

The reciprocation of salvation, gifts, and promises or contracts that governs Miranda, Ferdinand, and Prospero’s relationship is contingent. In other words, nothing is given freely. Although salvation is often time portrayed as a gift, I suggest that perhaps there is no such thing as a free gift or pure salvation. Prospero gives Miranda as a gift to Ferdinand. However, the reason was not that the gift is free, but that in return Prospero gains from gift-giving. Still, Prospero cannot give the gift until the promise of chastity is fulfilled. He cannot ergo receive the benefit until the fulfillment of the promise. Inversely, Ferdinand cannot receive the gift until he fulfills his promise to Prospero by not violating Miranda’s virginity. The gift is contingent on the promise of saving. I will argue that this saving herself and Ferdinand not violating her virginity is a legal and economical contract. Because both parties, Ferdinand and Prospero, have responsibility and benefit from the promise, this is why there is no such thing as a free gift rather a mutual trade. Prospero and Ferdinand’s pre-contract agreement is a necessary condition for Ferdinand’s taking Miranda’s hand in marriage, another form of legal contract.

Gift-giving is never free because it entails that the recipient return with acts of gratitude. The returning favor will apt to be reciprocated. I argue that Prospero’s gift of Miranda is not free evident through his motives and intentions manifested since the beginning and throughout the play. Miranda is a tagged gift because something is expected in return from the giving of that gift. Prospero’s plan drives him to create the storm, to manipulate the crew, and to lead Ferdinand to Miranda. Using the power he has over Ariel, Prospero intends the proceedings: “In troops I have dispersed them 'bout the isle. / The king's son have I landed by himself” (I. 2. 220-221). Ferdinand was led to Miranda via Ariel’s singing, hence their meeting was not by chance: “Come unto these yellow sands, / And then take hands: / Courtsied when you have and kiss'd” (I. 2. 374-376). Apparent thus far, Prospero uses his magical powers to induce favorable events including his daughter’s meeting Prince Ferdinand. Satisfied with the result of their meeting, Prospero’s line [him saying aside] indicates that their falling in love was not a coincidence but part of his plan: “ It [my plan] goes on, I see” (I. 2. 420). Now, the gift Prospero so speaks of is no more free than a prize that must be won. He had already initially planned to give Miranda to Ferdinand, the proper suitor: “So glad of this as they I cannot be, / Who are surprised withal, but my rejoicing / At nothing can be more” (III. 3. 92-94). In order to further control their relationship, Prospero manipulates Ferdinand’s confused state by threatening him. As a reward for standing up to the test, Prospero “ratify this my [his] rich gift [Miranda]” (IV. 1. 8) to Ferdinand. Through confinement to the...

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