“”The many roles of Prospero.In the play “The Tempest” written by Shakespeare, there are manydifferent roles that Prospero plays. He has four major roles that I shalldiscuss as Duke of Milan, father to Miranda, master to Ariel and Caliban,and as a powerful magician.
Prospero was the Duke of Milan as he was usurped by his brotherAntonio and exiled to an isolated island. He is quite a reluctant leader,”I thus neglecting worldly ends,” and he is perhaps regretful of the way heapproached past duties. His study of liberal arts began to get in the wayof his duties as leader and Duke, “And Prospero, the prime duke, being soreputed, in dignity and for the liberal arts without a parallel.”Prospero is the father to Miranda. She is a pure and gentleindividual because she has lived almost all of her life on this enchantedisland.
She is totally innocent and faultless and in addition has a sweetnature and a tender heart. As she has been sealed off from the world for solong, Miranda’s perceptions of other people tend to be nave and non-judgemental, “I might call him a divine thing, for nothing natural, I eversaw so noble…make not too rash a trial for him, for he’s gentle, and notfearful.” She is especially loyal to her father and Prospero cares a greatdeal for his daughter. For example, when she meets Ferdinand and theyarrange to get married, Prospero warns him about sex before marriage as itwill bring bad luck, “Take my daughter, but if thou dost break her virgin-knot before holy rite be ministered, no sweet aspersion shall the heavenslet fall .
.. but barren hate, sour-eyed disdain and discord shall bestrewthe union of your bed.” I believe that Prospero does care for Miranda andwants to see her happy.Prospero is also a master; His punishments for Caliban are petty andvindictive. After Prospero befriended him and taught him how to speak andthink, Caliban betrayed him and as a result, Prospero enslaved him to alife of low tasks; he refused to ever trust him again.
Caliban hates hismaster and will do anything to be free.Like Caliban, Prospero enslaved Ariel. Ariel helps his master in hisperformance of magic and carries out the orders that Prospero gives, “Iwill be correspondent to command and do my spiriting gently.” Ariel ismischievous and carefree, able to cross the length of the island in aninstant and change shapes when he feels like it, “If you could hurt, yourswords are now too massy for your strengths, and will not be uplifted.”Prospero is extremely learned, having studied most of his life. He has usedhis years of solitude on the island to study magical arts, which hasenabled him to control and command the island and many spirits around him.
Prospero appears almost God-like in his use of magic and the way hemasterfully dominates what will happen from one moment to the next. When hecalls forth the spirits to do his bidding and summons the goddesses tobless and celebrate the marriage of his daughter to Ferdinand are clearexamples of the depth of his magical abilities. Fortunately, Prospero is anoble character that uses restraint in practising his powers. His variousschemes, spells, and manipulations all work, as part of his grand design toachieve the play’s happy ending.
Prospero emerges as a more likeable and sympathetic character in thefinal two acts. In these, his love for Miranda, forgiveness of his enemies,and the end of his scheme all come together to achieve a happy ending.Throughout the play, Prospero proves that he is: a noble man, aloving father, a forgiving brother, a fair leader, and a powerful master.
Even though his brother and his allies have stolen the kingdom from him,Prospero is able to forgive them. He could have easily killed or punishedthem but instead he forces them to see the error of their ways and pledgeloyalty to him. As a result, when Prospero returns to Milan to be itsruler, he will be more honoured and powerful than ever; his subjects willnot dare to plot against the restored Prospero in the future.