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Tempest Essay, Research Paper
The Tempest is a play that explores many themes, one of
which is the theme of freedom versus control. This theme
can be explored by examining the characters of the play.
There are countless examples of power and authority through
control, along with characters having a strong desire for
there freedom. All the characters in the play suffer some
sort of incarceration before they are free. I will further
explore the theme of freedom versus Control in the Tempest.
For a start the characters in The Tempest are all on
an island of which they have no control over. Prospero and
Miranda are put there after Antonio takes over the position
of Duke Of Milan. This is an example of both characters
having lack of control in their lives. Although Prospero
gains control over his life while living on the island and
he also takes control of many other characters while living
on the island. One of these characters is his servant
Ariel, who is freed from Sycorax after she was imprisoned
in a tree for twelve years. Prospero controls Ariel by
threatening to imprison the spirit if she does not obey
him. Prospero promises to free Ariel if she carries out his
instructions and orders. Ariel longs for her freedom and
control of herself, she agrees to run errands for Prospero.
Prospero has also enslaved Caliban even though he
states the island is rightfully his. The island was left to
him from his mother. In Act One, Caliban tries to explain
to Prospero how he showed him all the good on the island
and all Caliban gets in return is imprisonment. However,
Prospero accuses him of trying to rape Miranda and that is
why he is enslaved. In the theme freedom versus control,
Caliban is an interesting character to examine because he
see s freedom in a different way. In Act two, scene two he
insists that he must become Stephanoe s servant because
that will release him from Prosepero s demands. His idea of
achieving freedom is to switch masters.
Another character Prospero has control over is
Ferdinand. To test the love between Miranda and Ferdinand,
Prospero subjects Ferdinand to harsh treatment. One thing
that separates Ferdinand from the rest is he does not care
about his lack or control or freedom, nothing matters to
him except seeing Miranda. As long as he can see Miranda
once a day from Prison, nothing else matters. This is his
form her freedom, being able to see his true love. He is so
blinded by love that at Prospero s orders, Ferdinand most
carry logs all day and it doesn t even bother him. He is so
in love with this beautiful girl, he does not even realize
he has lost control of himself.
Prospero even has control over his own daughter. In
Act four, Scene one, Prospero emphasizes his authority over
the two lovers by warning Ferdinand that if his to break
her virgin knot before marriage, Miranda will no longer be
his. Not only does he have control of her love life but
over every aspect of her everyday life. When Mirada was
left on the island, her whole life was left in her father s
control. She needs him to survive and take care of her.
Prospero loves his daughter very much and feels being in
control of her is in her best interest. Miranda does not
know any better, she fails to realize that she has no
control of her existence. She was raised on the island
since she was a small child and thinks it s a typical way
Gonzalo has his own version of what freedom should be.
He states it in Act two, Scene one, that he believes that
men and women should live together in harmony and be free
from government and control. He dreams of a utopian
republic in which everyone would have there own type of
freedom. It is an interesting aspect of the play to have
Gonzalo s view on freedom in exploring the theme of freedom
versus control. He thinks that there should be no control
in our society, but Antonio and Sebastian mock him for
thinking this. Antonio is a character in The Tempest who
has acquired control by taking over Prospero s throne. He
proposes a murderous plot to kill Sebastian: he will kill
Alonso so that Sebastian can become king, and Sebastian
must also kill Gonzalo. A very big mess as we can see, it
can all get very confusing at times. By using powers of
persuasions, Antonio is a character that has gained
control. He is a character who has no conscience and as
long as he has his own freedom, he cares not about anyone
else. However, although he is probably unaware, Antonio
slowly loses his freedom and his lack of control as he and
Sebastian, are driven to madness.
Prospero is the only character in the play who manages
to maintain control and create a lack of freedom for others
till the end of the play. Prospero is generally and good
man and uses his control over others in a positive way.
Ariel persuades him to have pity on the courtiers. Prospero
agrees to give up his magical powers which is a big threat
to his control over others. This proves that Prospero is
essentially a good man.
The Theme of Freedom versus control in The Tempest is
very important. There is a constant interaction between
both freedom and control throughout the play. All the
characters have some sort of freedom, and yet some type of
control over them. Through the exploration of the
characters in the play, it can be determined that Prospero
is the main instigator of both freedom and control.
Prospero himself, however is not free until the end of the
play. Prospero has been restricted from total freedom since
he was put on that island. The Tempest is a wonderful play
where we can watch characters strive for freedom and
control over there own lives. It s something will all
strive for in life.
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