Prospero Final Speech

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On the other hand, Prospero did rescue Ariel from the wrath of “The foul witch Sycorax” or the “blue-eyed hag…” Also, despite Ariel’s desire for freedom, he is still obedient to Prospero and he seems to take pleasure in his work: “All hail, great master, grave sir, hail! I come To answer thy best pleasure; be’t to fly, To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride On the curled clouds.

To thy strong bidding task Ariel, and all his quality.” Throughout the play, Prospero’s attitude towards Ariel is indefinite. Sometimes he seems affectionate, calling Ariel ‘bird’, ‘chick’, ‘my fine spirit’. But, at other times, he calls Ariel ‘moody’ or ‘malignant thing’.

Ariel’s language often expresses rapid movement and breathless excitement. There is sometimes a childlike eagerness to please in ‘What shall I do? Say what? What shall I do?’ as if he enjoys his chores and he is excited to do more.

It is Ariel who teaches Prospero forgiveness and pity or reminds him that he has forgiveness and pity. Describing the troubles of Prospero’s enemies, Ariel says that the sight of them would make Prospero feel compassion: “Ariel – …if you now beheld them, your affections Would become tender. Prospero – Dost thou think so, spirit? Ariel – Mine would, sir, were I human.

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 Prospero – And mine shall.”

Why Does Prospero Forgive

Throughout the play, Prospero’s art is driven by desire for revenge against those who usurped him as Duke of Milan. Prospero himself proves this when he says, ‘They being penitent, The sole drift of my purpose doth extend Not a frown further.’ Here he admits to having a different aim throughout the play. He declares this immediately after he has announced that he is going to reconcile with his ‘enemies’ rather than take an action of vengeance. Although he makes out that all he wants is to have reconciliation and forgiveness, there is no clear indication that his intention from the outset has been to forgive his usurpers, until Act 5, after he has been persuaded by Ariel, he says; ‘The rarer action is in virtue, than in vengeance.’ However, what Prospero does not realise is that for all his power, all that he can achieve by his plan is destruction and revenge.

He can punish men and make them fear him but he cannot produce true repentance until he gives up his revenge and appears before those who have wronged him not as a magician but as a man, as he does at the end of the play. Prospero’s form of punishment does not allow for true penitence as it does not teach them why they were wrong or what the right thing to do was. Therefore, Alonso only feels regret because he is scared of his discovery of Prospero’s powers and because he believes that his son is dead. From the moment that Alonso is released from Prospero’s spell, and familiarised with Prospero, he talks only of the death of his son and of how he simply can not believe that Prospero has caused ‘this business more than nature Was ever conduct of.’

In addition, Prospero merely introduces himself and Alonso is already apologising and asking for forgiveness. As it says above, he does not truly know why he is saying sorry or why he has to be penitent, though he obviously feels he does. Also, as for Sebastian and Antonio, they never learn and never repent and, in doing so, do not really regret what they have done. Since being released from the charm that Prospero placed on his enemies, Antonio speaks only one line before the end of the play and that is one which makes fun of Caliban, ‘One of them Is a plain fish, and no doubt marketable.’ This shows that he does not even think about his brother never mind apologising to him and asking for forgiveness.

The same goes for Sebastian as, although he says more, his lines have comedy in and not a hint of repentance. Evidently, although Prospero can place his enemies in circumstances advantageous to his plan by exposing them to the storm and tormenting them with his magic, he can not force any of them to repent. His supernatural art enables him to control them physically but their minds are resistant to his influence. The powers of this remarkably talented ruler are limited and, in the end, his project is only a partial success as not everybody is happy and not everybody wants to be forgiven.

Although he has won control, he has not won happiness, nor, with the exception of Miranda who lies largely outside that scope of his art, has he won love. He has been able to see the evil inherent in life clearly, such as Antonio, Caliban and Alonso, but the good has been largely obscured, such as Miranda, Gonzalo and Ariel, by too great a preoccupation with his aspiration for revenge. His decision to forgive the villains, or at least not punish them too severely, is difficult. However, he has not redeemed the world; his project appears to be much smaller than that.

All he has done is make something which was very wrong, for which one could say he is largely responsible, a little bit better, and has provided a chance for another generation to make a new beginning – with evil still present. However, Prospero did learn about himself. In the last Act, Prospero finds within himself the desire to bring about the process of reconciliation rather than seek revenge, to which he has devoted the latter part of his life. He also finds that, in forgiving his enemies and abandoning his own position of power, he finds his freedom. Therefore, although he has not found repentance off everybody, he has fulfilled his dream, to be free.

“Though with their high wrongs I am struck to th’quick, Yet, with my nobler reason ‘gainst my fury Do I take part. The rarer action is In virtue, than in vengeance. They being penitent, The sole drift of my purpose doth e xtend Not a frown further. Go, release them, Ariel.” So, is Prospero an angry man or a divine ruler? Is he a good person or a bad person? Shakespeare portrays Prospero as an individual who learns a very important lesson throughout the play.

At the beginning, Prospero is preoccupied with revenge, for the latter part of his life, he has been intent on teaching his enemies a lesson and showing them what is right and wrong, however, he does not do this, instead, he forgives them and, the majority of the party reconcile. At the end of the play, where a change in Prospero is evident as he has reconciled with his enemies, he is free from the island and has resolved any anger he had, he stands in the middle of the stage, without his magic power, for the epilogue, where he proceeds to almost whisper a plea for our ‘indulgence’. This is the final stage of the reformation of Prospero.

This final speech illustrates Prospero as a man, devoid of any magic powers. The cast off role of magician becomes a foil against which a fragile human self is formed and defined: “Now my charms are all o’erthrown, And what strength I have’s mines own – Which is most faint.”To conclude, Prospero is a very angry man who manipulates his power as a magician to have slaves and perform an act of revenge. However, throughout the play, his character goes through changes and, at the end, when he is reconciled, though he has not got everybody’s repentance, he finds freedom and realises that in forgiving his enemies and abandoning his own position of power, he has managed to see that he has been a slave to the purpose of revenge as much as the spirits he has commanded. Also, if at the end, he is without power and servants, he is also without anger, therefore he has fulfilled his dream. He set out to get his Dukedom of Milan back, and that he did.

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Prospero Final Speech
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