The Tempest Essay

834 words - 4 pages

In Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, the cast of characters are squeezed into some very typical kind of roles. Prospero is our noble hero, Miranda is the beautiful maiden, and Antonio is the “villain”. Shakespeare gave each of the characters a sense of humor, a tool that allows us to see the small details of their minds; a glimpse at the inner workings of each character’s personality. It is through the humor that Shakespeare is able to show the “roundness” in characters that could be otherwise be seen as “flat” characters. Shakespeare uses humor to give his characters a new life, to help them expand beyond the bounds of just normal characters and turn into real people.
Miranda is a good example of a character whose humor enriches her personality. At the beginning of the play, it is explained to us, largely through Prospero’s actions, that Miranda is a perfect child. She’s compassionate, beautiful, well educated and obedient. She’s the apple of Prospero’s eye. Later on, however, she comes off as being too perfect. Perfect to the point of annoyance and perfect to the point of being sterile and despite her assets, she’s no more than a china doll. Throw Ferdinand into the equation, a handsome prince. She becomes much more interesting, gone is the high standard maiden, replaced by a googly eyed, puppy headed, hormone enraged teenager with love. She is so head over heels for Ferdinand that she refers to him as a ‘noble creature’. He is so perfect to Miranda. It’s a wonderfully amusing transformation, to watch Miranda, the model for women around the world, go bananas over a boy to the point where she is volunteering to carry gigantic wooden logs for him. This humor allows us to see the Miranda underneath the class act and obedient demeanor, the lonely, man craving vulnerable little girl. Her transformation shows her as any other girl trying to impress someone. Miranda is really a wonderfully goofy person who in any other situation, as not being stranded on an island, would have her wall decorated with posters and paintings of young nobles.
Antonio is another character whose humor has helped to make his personality richer. Prospero describes his brother in Act I as being villainous and ambitious. By the time Prospero finishes his story, we’re so disgusted with Antonio that we expect nothing less than a cold blooded, ruthless monster. However, once we finally meet Antonio, we find out that...

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