Read Act 1 Scene 2. How Does Shakespeare Introduce Ariel? Look Closely At Language, Imagery And Tone. Comment On The Relationship Between Ariel And Prospero.

1185 words - 5 pages

Defined as the spirit of the air, Ariel has been the subject of much debate and discussion amongst critics and literary commentators who have for many years speculated about his nature and his unique and original characterisation. Act One Scene Two is the first time we meet this intriguing spirit, and it is Shakespeare's apt use of language, imagery and tone which helps to shape initial impressions of the character. The master-commander relationship Prospero and Ariel have with one another is effectively depicted in the way in which they speak to one another, their tone of language and the role they undertake in the scene. However, Ariel's role is much more advanced than just a mere servant or slave of Prospero, as Ian Johnston points out 'Prospero's power depends, in large part, on Ariel's release and willing service'. Although there are clear signs of a superior-inferior relationship between the two, it's far more complex than that, to an extent they are mutually reliant on one another, and just as we see in Act One Scene Two, are both essential for the development of the play.The first appearance of Ariel immediately establishes his character as that of a submissive, deferential subject, as he enthusiastically responds to the call of Prospero, 'All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come To answer thy best pleasure'. Ariel's ceremonious greeting in lines 189-192 establishes Prospero's authority, dignity, and mastery of arts. Prospero's summoning of Ariel when he says 'Come away, servant, come. I am ready now. Approach my Ariel, come' helps the reader formulate initial impressions of their relationship. The fact that Prospero addresses him as 'servant' and with the pronoun 'my' paints Ariel as the inferior slave, under the command of his superior, Prospero. There is also an element of ownership, but it's perhaps more appropriate to use the term an element of debt and gratitude rather than ownership because of the historical content. Years before Prospero had arrived on the island; a witch by the name of Sycorax had been banished there from Algeria. Whilst on the island, she had imprisoned Ariel in a pine tree, had it not been for Prospero, he would probably have been left in the tree forever, thus, there is clearly an element of debt and gratitude involved.The initial perception of Ariel is heavily influenced by his descriptive and poetic language. Ariel communicates through poetry and song, his language is ordered and stylistic. It portrays a mind at ease with his environment, a mind in which creativity and wit have sufficient room to develop. Furthermore, Ariel's speech is filled with alliteration, assonance, rhyme and meter- 'come unto these yellow sands...And sweet sprites, the burden bear'. The eloquence of his character is personified by the sea; Prospero applauds his beauty when he tells him 'Go make thyself like a nymph o' the sea.' The use of similes and metaphors throughout the act do much in helping the reader formulate initial...

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