The Tempest written during the 1600s by one of the most influential writers of his time, William Shakespeare, takes us deep in to the Renaissance, in which questions of religion and man’s place in the world were the cause of much conflict. There are many insinuations that the character of Prospero is a cover for Shakespeare himself and through the protagonist, Shakespeare voices some of his views about the world he was living in. Along with themes of power, men and control, colonization also seems to be a main focus of Shakespeare throughout The Tempest, as almost every character ponders upon how he would rule the island on which the play is set if he were its king. Dr Faustus was written ...view middle of the document...
” The audience experiences the malevolent side to Prospero that reflects the Medieval belief that if you are born into power you have the right to wave your wand of superiority over anyone you think as "lowly."They both come from two very different worlds as does Dr Faustus. Prospero is educated and civilized whereas Caliban is seen as uncivilized, which was the way the audiences during the Renaissance would have viewed him, yet, both Prospero and Caliban speak in blank verse “for every trifle are they set upon me; sometime like apes that mow and chatter at me and after bite me.” In the audience’s mind Caliban was perceived as inferior and had no place in the Elizabethan world order yet, he spoke in blank verse which only aristocrats in plays used as it is considered to be one of the most poetic and rhythmic forms of spoken language. Interestingly, Caliban only speaks a hundred lines in the whole play which are the most memorable lines that Shakespeare ever wrote.
At the time Shakespeare was writing the universe was seen as hierarchal chain of being. God at the top, followed by spirits then humans then animals. Shakespeare questions this ideological construct subliminally, suggesting that Prospero and Caliban are equal according to the chain of being as they are both humans, yet is it considered acceptable for Prospero to continually treat him like an animal. Prospero often insults Caliban with the use of pejorative noun phrases such as
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"Abhorred slave" and "a thing most brutish." Shakespeare's intention here is to highlight Prospero's malevolence whilst using Caliban to represent the victims of European imperialism and colonization. They were also exploited and subjugated. They were forced to take on the language of their conquerors and were torn between the indigenous culture and the culture imposed on them. Shakespeare highlights and questions the baseless ideologies that were adopted by the men during the medieval time period.
The Father, daughter relationship between Prospero and Miranda is at the centre of the story. The controlling nature of Prospero is emphasised when he asks Miranda with interrogatives “dost thou attend me?” three times. It is shown clearly here who has more authority in the relationship. Prospero continues to dominate Miranda, in Act IV, scene I, Miranda doesn't get the opportunity to join the discussion between her father and Ferdinand about her marriage. “Silence! One word more
shall make me chide thee, if not hate thee.” The imperative exclamation is used to assert authority. This can be interpreted in two ways, either Prospero is overly protective of his daughter and wants to keep her away from danger or, like every other man during Medieval times thought that women were inferior. The minor role that women play in this production is arguably a metaphor for the role women played in society then and their subservience to men.
Unlike Miranda, many of the men in The Tempest are generally...