Prospero is the principal character of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. Without question, he vaguely bestows a sense of a ‘prevailing authoritarian’, using his powers to control the capabilities of others, solely for the purposes of self indulgence and expediency. We see this domineering and overwhelming trait throughout the play. An instance of this can be perfectly supported by the dreaded incident of the king of Naples’ ship, as Prospero uses his powers to manipulate the winds, causing the ship to capsize. This is just one example of his officious personality.
However, there is a staggering change in this behaviour toward the end of Shakespeare’s prodigious play. He suddenly transforms into a penitent and modest individual, willing to give up all magic and power to become a typical human being….. Prospero was once the Duke of Milan. Loved immensely by the people, his callous brother Antonio grew increasingly covetous of his eminence and supremacy. Despite Prospero’s popularity amongst the people of Milan, he consumed most hours within the day to read and study the art of magic and philosophy.
It is this particular notion that diminished any prospect of Prospero being a threat to Antonio. Never the less, Antonio found that killing Prospero would prove almost impossible, due to his close relationship with the people. As a result, Antonio realises that the only method of disposing of Prospero is to ‘misplace’ him. He charges a Neapolitan named Gonzalo, to cast Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, out to sea. As an alternative to sentencing them both to death as instructed (by making holes in their boat), Gonzalo provides them with food and warmth.
Due to their dire circumstances at the start of the play, we should feel compassion for Prospero. Nonetheless, His possession and use of magical knowledge renders him extremely powerful and not entirely sympathetic. This is shown to a great extent in act 1 scene 2. Prior to this scene, Prospero and Miranda arrived at an island, safe and thankful of their lives. Prospero chances upon an entrapped spirit by the name of Ariel, and a shamefully contorted savage, named Caliban. He willingly frees Ariel, demonstrating his ability to be empathetic.
He also shows a certain amount of selflessness regarding Caliban. He shows this by an endeavour to teach him things. However, this scheme becomes swiftly unproductive, followed by Caliban’s attempt to rape Miranda. It is Prospero’s ensuing relationship with Caliban in Act 1 Scene 2, that outlines one of the more disagreeable characteristics. He uses a large amount of exclamation in his tone of voice, usually screaming at Caliban. I believe it is his absolute power over the other characters and his overwrought speeches make him difficult to like, for he appears self important and condescending.