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Analysis of Prospero in William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”

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Essay / Research Paper Abstract

A 5 page paper which examines to what extent Prospero can only be fully understood in relation to other great tragic figures. Bibliography lists 6 sources.

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5 pages (~225 words per page)

File: TG15_TGproher.rtf

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the tale, Prospero is an old man of great intellect who has been marooned on an island for several with his daughter, Miranda, a fairy named Ariel and the native he attempted to humanize through education, Caliban. Prospero had once been the esteemed Duke of Milan, but had been victimized by the treacherous betrayal of his brother Antonio and Alonzo, King of Naples and leaves his homeland in disgrace, accompanied by his young daughter and his wise councilor, Gonzalo. After being caught in a savage storm, the shipwrecked passengers take refuge on a deserted island, under Prosperos leadership. During this time, he seeks to find the true meaning of life through study, reads many books on magic and becomes quite the proficient practitioner. When Prosperos bitter adversaries also find themselves coincidentally shipwrecked on the same island, accompanied by Alonzos son Ferdinand, the situation provides the sage magician with the golden opportunity for revenge, for which he has waited twelve long years. But will this vengeance set his soul free? Because of his betrayal, Prospero has become quite disillusioned by humanity, which intensifies after Caliban attempts to rape Miranda, who remains a barbarian despite all his patient efforts to civilize his behavior. Prosperos ultimately tragic physical and metaphorical journey had been traveled by others before and after by other great literary figures. It is, perhaps, in comparison with them that his characterization can be more fully understood. Take Homers tragic heroes, for example. Instead of fighting for his dukedom, a sulking Prospero leaves, walking away from his leadership responsibilities. Achilleus also voluntarily leaves the battlefield in the epic poem, "The Iliad," after a dispute with King Agamemnon regarding a disputed female war prize. Calling upon his mother, the goddess Thetis, ...

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