Theme of Revenge in The Tempest

Modified: 19th Oct 2021
Wordcount: 617 words

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There is a multitude of themes in the play The Tempest but the most prominent theme throughout the entirety of the play is the theme revenge. Revenge is a large motive in the play that drove Prospero to enact his revenge on the various characters that did him wrong. He uses his spirit Ariel to do his dirty deeds throughout the play.

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Prospero mainly seeks revenge on two people throughout the entirety of the play, those two people being Antonio and Caliban. He allows his mild anger for the two to intervene in his planning of regaining his Dukedom from his brother and splits up the other castaways from the shipwreck. For example, when he split Alonso’s son Ferdinand from Sebastian during the tempest putting the impression upon Alonso that his son has drowned. (2.2.112-113) While the other castaways on the island also feel the brunt of Prospero's anger because he can see that the “drunkards” are plotting to kill him. So, he sends his servant Ariel to torture them and disillusion them from their plan. (3.2.49-127)

Prospero uses an illusion on the men of the island and sends Ariel as a harpy to let the men know that they are on the island for a reason with the underlying reason being that they wronged Prospero, he says “My high charms work, And these, mine enemies, are all knit up

In their distractions. They now are in my power.” (3.3.107-110) this is implying that his plan for revenge is working and that they are woven or “knit up” in his plan for revenge. Another time where Prospero shows his want for revenge is when he is speaking with his daughter Miranda telling her about why they are on the island “There they hoist us, To cry to th’ sea that roared to us, to sigh To th’ winds whose pity, sighing back again, Did us but loving wrong.” This is said because Prospero depicts how Gonzalo helped both of them get away from Milan. Prospero's punning language of "loving wrong" signals the opposing idea of their break. On one hand, Gonzalo treated them terribly by sending them out to the ocean. On the other, he sent them to the ocean out of affection, to guarantee their safety. Prospero's play on words demonstrates how he feels about his present circumstance but angry about his outcast, but at the same time alive and in full control of the island.

The revenge itself is simply a necessity for Prospero. Prospero is doing whatever it takes not to get his revenge by harming anybody. He is simply attempting to get them to get back at them and allow them to acknowledge what they did wasn't right. The way Prospero sets up stages for each gathering of individuals on the island independently using his servant Ariel. Prospero always appreciated Gonzalo for his temperament, and this is the reason he chose to spare his life. Prospero had a minor change in heart during the play, it is reasonable that he was bound to have had tormented Alonso, Antonio and so on however he chose not to be so severe and gave them a possibility. In spite of the fact that his activities were driven by the hankering for retribution, yet he understood that tormenting them wouldn't transform them. Prospero needed his life back and needed his daughter Miranda to have a decent life. Prospero's revenge

Works Cited

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  • Dolor, L.I. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh. New York: Columbia UP, 1998. Print.
  • Doe, R. John. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh, 1998. Print.


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