William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, is a magnificent piece of literature that explores various aspects of nature and man, illusion versus real, and deception. The Tempest was written between the years 1610 and 1611. Many believe Shakespeare based the majority of this play from the colonization that was taking place in the Americas during this time, and Montaigne’s essay Of the Cannibals. Shakespeare was able to incorporate and write, a poetic magical play showing what was going on during this time, and also how the human existence was changing due to new discoveries of other humans.
Shakespeare created a utopian society in his play, The Tempest. Utopian societies are meant to give an alternative way of living through social, political, and cultural methods. The word utopia was coined first by Thomas More is his publication of Utopia. Mores publication was from his imagination, but Shakespeare saw what was occurring around him in his world that he lived in. The Tempest takes place during a time when ones are pinned against uncontrollable situations such as, banishment, enslavement, and a weather storm.
In many of the great plays written by William Shakespeare setting is key to the development of the actions that occur. The setting sets the social environment in which we judge the characters morals, behaviors, and actions. By Shakespeare using an utopian setting in The Tempest, he was able to write a play that created a message in regards to colonization of others with comparison of the two enslaved characters of Ariel and Caliban.
The Tempest features two characters, Ariel and Caliban, that serve as the enslaved on the island, but an argument can also be made that Miranda is enslaved of the island. Prospero was Duke of Milan, and banished due to his lack of skill at being Duke due to him being involved in books more than ruling (I.ii.66-79). With Prospero being pushed out, his daughter Miranda was as well banished. They were sent to an island and set up a new home. Free of the old political system that Prospero did not like, he set up his own system on his new found island. Just as any island, inhabitants were found. Colonized subjects are overcome with worthiness to those who claim to save them, or forms of servitude from one being able to teach them something insightful.
We find out that Ariel has magical powers and is behind the opening scene of Act I. As readers we already have important information regarding the colonized subject Ariel. Prospero is the director of the island controlling the magic, holding the usage of Ariel’s power over him in attempts to seek revenge. Ariel is the spirit of the island, who was captured by Sycorax and then captured by Prospero. With Prospero freeing Ariel from his own servitude to Sycorax, Ariel already is used to serving, and feels inclined to Prospero for the freedom he gave to the spirit, but Ariel still wishes to be free. Prospero needs him for one final act of magic.
Ariel and Prospero...