PROSPERO: Character Profile

Hannah Kelly
Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

Detailed character profile for Prospero. Includes all summaries of his scenes, AO2 (writer's use of language) and analysis, AO3 (critical quotes) and AO4 (historical context).

Hannah Kelly
Created by Hannah Kelly over 5 years ago
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PROSPERO: Character Profile
1 A02
1.1 "We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep."
1.1.1 In 'The Tempest' Shakespeare portrays man in connection with the supernatural. This subject is accurately summarised by Victor Hugo as follows: 'The Tempest' symbolizes the action of man on the invisible world.
1.2 "Our revels now are ended."
1.2.1 The 'Revels' refers to a term used in entertainment, in 'The Tempest' it suggests the end of a dance/masque. Here Prospero is comparing the end of courtship and the beginning of the bond of marriage between Miranda and Ferdinand. Prospero is no longer in charge of his daughter's well-being, it is now up to Ferdinand
1.3 "I had forgot that foul conspiracy of the beast Caliban and his confederates against my life."
1.3.1 This dramatic outburst reveals Prospero's dark side, as his power over Caliban is suddenly put under risk. This speech contrasts with the spectacle of the mask, which rejoices the bond of Ferdinand and Miranda. By placing this speech after the masque concludes, Shakespeare creates more dramatic tension.
1.4 "But if thou break her virgin-knot before all sanctimonious ceremonies may with full and holy rite be ministered..."
1.4.1 To establish his power as the protective father figure of Miranda, Prospero threatens Ferdinand to not take the virginity of his child before marriage, as it would discredit Prospero and Miranda from society. By stating his authority over Ferdinand, a prince of a higher ranking than Prospero, it shows how much of a tyrannical influence he is.
1.5 "I'll break my staff, bury it certain fathoms in the earth, and deeper than did ever plummet sound I'll drown my book."
1.5.1 Prospero here is relinquishing his powers, in comparison to Shakespeare, as Prospero is bidding farewell to his books, just as Shakespeare is bidding farewell to his writing. It proves that the written word is the most powerful object of manipulation, which rings true on the powerful effect of Shakespeare's plays here on society.
1.6 "And these, mine enemies, are all knit up in their distraction. They now are in my power;"
1.6.1 Again Prospero asserts his control over those who rank above him, and addressing them as 'mine enemies' goes to show the insurmountable amount of revenge he has on his mind.
1.7 "Thou most lying slave... I have used thee with humane care, and lodged thee in mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate the honour of my child."
1.7.1 Prospero refers to his care of Caliban and his European influence over the native of the island. From a post-colonial perspective Prospero is portrayed as a European Duke who has enslaved the inhabitants of the island and has inserted his culture, language and authority over the likes of Caliban.
2 A03
2.1.1 "Tried by suffering, Prospero proves its strengthening qualities. Far from succumbing to the blow, it is not until it has fallen that he displays his true , far-reaching, and terrible power and becomes the great irresistable magician which Shakespeare himself has long been. His power is not understood by his daughter, but is felt by his enemies. He plays with them as he pleases, compels them to repent their past treatment of him, and then pardons them with a calmness of superioty" - MARIA O'CONNOR
2.1.2 "Prospero finds it easy to forgive because, in his secret soul, he sets very little value on the dukedom he has lost, and is, therefore, roused to very little indignation by the treachery which deprived him of it." - RICHARD GARNETT
2.1.3 "His daughter's happiness is the sole thing which greatly interests him now, and he carries his indifference to worldly matters so far that, without any outward compulsion, he breaks his magic wand and casts his books into the sea. Resuming his place among the ranks of ordinary men,he retains nothing but his inalienable treasure, of experience and reflection."- RICHARD GARNETT
2.1.4 "Prospero is the master-mind, the man of the future, as shown by his control over the forces of nature. He passes as a magician, and Shakespeare found his prototype, as far as external accessories were concerned, in a scholar of mark and man of high principles..." - GEORG BRANDES
2.2.1 "Prospero's conduct from the moment the play begins, seems to contradict the basic tenets of Christian forgiveness. Fortune has brought his enemies within his grasp and Prospero seizes the opportunity for revenge." - FRANK DAVIDSON
2.2.2 "A thorough discussion of the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation in the play must consider Prospero's treatment of Caliban. Even though Prospero understands that Caliban's bad behaviour is like that of a child, he does not offer mercy and forgiveness as freely and earnestly as one should. The best Prospero can do is couch a rather lackluster pardon inside a command..." - FRANK KERMODE
2.2.3 "Shakespeare no doubt understood that ending the play with this sour meeting would leave the reader wanting, so he crafts the union of Miranda and Ferdinand as a vehicle by which the two fathers can further their reconciliation." - FRANK KERMODE
2.3.1 "Over all this spirit world Prospero bears sovereign rule by the power of commanding intellect. His subjects are 'weak masters' he says; that is weak by individually, weak in the capacity for combining to make the most of their ability to do certain things that men cannot do. Prospero know how to make them work in carrying out his far-reaching plans." - WILLIAM J. ROLFE
2.3.2 "Shakespeare, while as I have said, has managed the supernatural part of the play in strict accordance with the theories of that day concerning magic, has at the same time avoided everything that was ridiculous or revolting in the popular belief. He thus exercises, as it were, a magic power over the vulgar magic, lifting it from prose to poetry..." - WILLIAM J. ROLFE
3 AO4
3.1 The play itself it based on how a fleet of nine ships were journeying to 'the new world' when a terrible storm separated one ship from the rest, and landed on the island of Bermuda. The crew onboard the ship then inhabited the island, which was already populated, and enslaved the natives there. This comparison is shown in Prospero character as a usurper of the island from Caliban. - "This island mien by Sycorax my mother, which thou tak'st from me."
3.1.1 Prospero has usurped Caliban from the rule of the island and was thus, an agent of imperialism.
3.2 Prospero is a central character and must sustain the interest of the audience. He can be played as a powerful and magnanimous man or as a cruel sorcerer. There is evidence of both possibilities in the play.
3.3 Prospero may be depicted as a godlike figure, meting out an ill-understood justice, or as a despotic coliniser
3.4 The plot of 'The Tempest' may be divorced from real life in that its chief character, Prospero, is a magician who can control the spirits of air, earth, fire and water, and who can use spells to put Miranda to sleep, to punish Caliban and to remedy old wrongs. The play presupposes a knowledge of and interest in the supernatural, an interest that was probably more widespread in Shakespeare's day than in our own.
4.1 ACT 1 SCENE 2:
4.1.1 1) The island, Prospero stands outside with Miranda watching the shipwreck Prospero caused
4.1.2 2) Miranda is horrified, Prospero tells her no-one is hurt and tells the story of how they came to the island
4.1.3 3) Prospero puts Miranda to sleep and calls to Ariel, who informs him on the whereabouts of the courtiers
4.1.4 4) Ariel complains of his treatment and Prospero berates him for it, reminding him of his torture from Sycorax
4.1.5 5) After waking Miranda, they visit Caliban, another slave who deliberately disobeys Prospero
4.1.6 6) Caliban accuses Prospero of stealing his island, Prospero berates him and retorts with how he treated Caliban with kindness and educated him, Caliban then proclaims that he is now 'cursed' by his eduction
4.1.7 7) When Ferdinand appears, he and Miranda instantly fall in love, which pleases Prospero but is ensure whether he is the right man for her, so he decides to put him to the test. Much to the dismay of Miranda, Prospero imprisons him
4.2 ACT 3, SCENE 1
4.2.1 1) Ferdinand performs the tasks that were commanded by Prospero, he knows that Miranda would weep for him
4.2.2 2) Miranda appears and offers to help him, Prospero observing, Ferdinand refuses saying he would rather break his back then let her dishonour herself
4.2.3 3) They declare their love for each other as Prospero decides that Ferdinand is worthy of his daughter's hand
4.3 ACT 4, SCENE 1
4.3.1 1) Prospero consents the marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda and prepares a wedding masque
4.3.2 2) He cautions Ferdinand not to break the vow of consummation before marriage
4.3.3 3) The masque begins, however it is cut short as Prospero remembers the assassination plot upon his life
4.3.4 4) Prospero orders Ariel to set a trap for the trio (Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban)
4.3.5 5) The spirits change into wild dogs and chase the trio out of Prospero's cell
4.3.6 6) Ariel informs Prospero that all his enemies are at his mercy and that he will soon be free from the island
4.4 ACT 5, SCENE 1
4.4.1 1) Antonio, Sebastian and Alonso have all gone mad and Gonzalo is suffering mental anguish
4.4.2 2) Breaking their trance Prospero identifies himself and Alonso asks his forgiveness
4.4.3 3) Alonso is reunited with Ferdinand, Prospero forgives Antonio but does not reconcile with him, the ship-crew announce that the ship is ready to sail
4.4.4 4) After confronting Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban, he tells Caliban that he can now have the island
4.4.5 5) Prospero invites the king and the courtiers to hear the story of his life on the island, as Ariel prepares the proper sailing weather to guide Prospero back to Milan

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