The process of discovery involves uncovering what is hidden and reconsidering what is known. Human desire and nature create significant problems and challenges to the relationships between different people. Prospero and his daughter have been living in exile since his father was forcefully ejected from his throne in Milan by the king’s brother with the help of the king. Prospero had prospered due to the magic he had taught himself before he lost his throne. Sebastian, the king’s brother, orders his henchman Gonzalo to kill off Prospero and his daughter. Gonzalo, however, fails to go through with his orders and leaves the dethroned Duke and his daughter for dead on the sea. The opening setting of the play highlights the inner turmoil the different people on the boat are going through except the Boatswain and his mariners who wrestle with the tempest to steady their ship and preserve the lives in their charge. The storm signifies the emotional distress that the men’s guilt creates for them as a result of their guilt in the usurping of the Duke of Milan. The tempest caused by Prospero’s magic through his spirit servant Ariel spares everyone aboard the ship marooning them on Prospero’s island. Prospero is portrayed as a patient and calculating person who use his profound knowledge and experience to make sound decisions and plans. He also hides his history from his daughter to allow her to have a normal childhood and to shelter her from the burden of hate or anger. His wisdom and memory of Gonzalo’s mercy on him and his daughter probably prompt him to go through the trouble of making the conspirators confess. He also gives the young man Fernando the benefit of the doubt by not judging him on the actions of his father and his uncle. He then puts him to work to test the young man and to slow down the progress of the budding love between him and his daughter.
The process of discovery involves uncovering what is hidden and reconsidering what is known as the play takes the audience through the previous lives of Prospero, his daughter and the conspirators to his losing his throne. We can understand the past conflicts that culminated in Prospero using his magic to bring a storm upon the ship in which his usurpers were travelling. We also get to understand how he came to be in possession of the services of a mystical creature and a servant in the island they stumbled upon when they were left for dead. The journeys of discovery for the characters also highlight a lot about their characters. Prospero lost his land because he was too preoccupied with his studies of magic to realize the plot to usurp him. He had however been able to correct this in his new life and focus on raising his daughter. He was not consumed by hatred and vengeance. He went about his business awaiting the perfect moment, not to exert his vengeance, but to reconcile with his traitors and their accomplices. The language used in the play enables the audience to interact with the characters and get to understand intimate their past and their values. The play is also rich in symbolism that is important in highlighting the characters of the people in the play.
Miranda’s purity is alluded to when Prospero urges Ferdinand to ensure that his daughter’s “virgin-note” remains untouched until their wedding is official. Prospero’s preoccupation with his magical studies isolated him from his dukedom and made it possible for the king and his brother to usurp him, “And to my state grew stranger, being transported, And rapt in secret studies” (Shakespeare and Home, 1955). Prospero’s wisdom and need for reconciliation is further revealed when he says that he would forgive his traitors even if he detested them so much (Shakespeare and Horne, 1955). The play also uses a lot of dramatic techniques to enhance its delivery and build its characters. Ferdinand is portrayed as a noble and good man, unlike his father and uncle. Even if the speaker has relatively little social interactions with men, her observations can be taken as very accurate due to the wisdom that her father has imparted to her. She says “I might call him, A thing divine; for nothing natural, I ever saw so noble” (Shakespeare and Horne, 1955). Miranda’s meeting with Ferdinand makes her discover romantic love and also makes her father realize that her daughter has come of age. This prompts him to let the love between the two youngsters’ blossoms. He, however, takes steps to ensure that the love between the two develops gradually by giving the young prince chores to limit their interactions.
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There are many related texts introduced in connection with the question. Most of the original conversations have been maintained, and they add life to the play. They are also instrumental in the development of the personalities of the characters by highlighting their histories. This also helps in the development of the plot. Ariel’s character has significant differences between the play and the set. This is probably because his music and trickery of the plotters had to be made to correspond with current trends in society for it to have a better effect and to be humorous. Caliban’s character also has several differences. Caliban and Ariel are the two characters whose lines could be altered without the plot being affected hence the director’s choice to play around with their lines. The chess scene between Miranda and Ferdinand shows her understanding and prowess in strategy and planning and alludes to her father’s wisdom and mastery of the same concepts.
Prospero uses his understanding of his part in his overthrow to become a better man and to raise his daughter with love and care. He does not fail her as he failed his Dukedom. He also exercises mercy on his traitors due to the mercy that he was shown by Gonzalo when he spared him and his daughter. His understanding of magic allows him to free the spirit Ariel and make him his servant although being a man of his word he releases Ariel when he completes his contract. Prospero’s knowledge and discovery of magic are instrumental in his quest for justice and his restoration to his former glory as the Duke of Milan. It also brings him to a state of enlightenment that allows him to spare the people who disgraced him and stole his throne from him. His discovery of his servants plans to eliminate him and take over the island prompt him to devise a trap and foil their plans. Prospero seems to have learnt the most important lesson in life when he says, “I’ll break my staff, Bury it certain fathoms in the earth, and deeper than did ever plummet sound, I’ll drown my book” (Shakespeare and Horne, 1955).
Shakespeare, W., & Horne, D. H. (1955). The tempest. New Haven: Yale University Press.