The Christ–like Prospero of Shakespeare’s The Tempest
It is not only the goodness of man which, according to traditional Christian concepts ,is not germane to himself. His very being, and his ultimate destiny stems alike from a principle that is infinitely beyond him (Morris 143).
What was Prospero attempting to accomplish through the creation of the storm? Why would he go to that length of natural disaster, if the events would only end in an unharmed manner?
Prospero. But are they, Ariel, safe?
Ariel. Not a hair perished. On their sustaining garments not a blemish but fresher than before; (1.2.218-221).
It was Prospero’s innate goodness that created a merciful storm, temporarily displacing his brother, the Duke, and the ship’s crew. Prospero use of magic allowed him to realize that his power surpassed the Duke’s. What might create empathy in the readers and viewers of this play is that Prospero had double the power of Antonio, the Duke and it showed through his merciful treatment of the storm’s creation. Prospero used intellect and did not operate on emotions solely, which could make the interpretation of the storm more philosophical, than vengeful. Because Prospero was a scholar, his plan became well thought out and the consequences were considered before hand, instead of acting on impulse, worrying about the outcome of those actions when it's too late. The power of nature was apparent to Prospero. His treatment of that power showed that he just wanted to return the rightful position of Duke to himself. "A man’s will, in order to be good, must be conformed to the Divine will….a will must be referred to the common good as an end, and formally will the Divine and universal good in addition to a particular good"(Morris 94). Prospero had the good it took to take upon a God through Jesus- like power position.
Prospero’s sense of forgiveness for his brother’s betrayal, and lack of anger creates a Jesus –like characteristic. He forgave all of those who have ‘sinned’ against him, a familiar philosophy found in the Bible, and the Lord’s prayer, “…. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”(Holy Bible, Mathew 12).
The forgiveness even extends to Caliban and to those who plotted the master’s [Prospero] death in order to make the island their own. All are pardoned. No trace of anger or resentment is allowed to linger. With forgiveness goes freedom(Clark 106).
Prospero’s master plan was embedded with the essence of the Divine. The idea that Prospero was willing to forgive those who wronged him and implement a plan that did not require bloodshed shows a great sacrifice , and benefit to his overall character;
He [Prospero] is a man who has been grievously wronged, and who now has his enemies at his mercy, intends to revenge himself. That this has been his intention is made perfectly clear in the speech in which that intention is forever renounced:
Thogh with their high wrongs I am strook to th’ quick