The Tempest : Theme of Longing for Freedom

 The Theme of Longing for Freedom

Question : Describe the theme of freedom in the play.

Answer : Every creature in this world yearns for freedom. No one wants to live in slavery. The theme of freedom is best exemplified through the characters of Ariel and Caliban. Both characters are essentially enslaved by Prospero.

 Longing for freedom in Caliban

        In “The Tempest” the position of Caliban is that of a slave. Prospero forces him by his magic to do several hard chores for him. Caliban is given the tasks of bringing wood for fuel, carrying heavy logs of woods etc.

      Caliban grudges this labour and comes to hate Prospero. He feels that he is the owner of the island and Prospero is a mere usurper. That is why he itches for freedom.

       But here the idea of freedom for Caliban is to change his master. It seems that he will be satisfied if he has not to serve Prospero any more . As Caliban says –

“Ban, ban, Ca – Caliban

Has a new master; get a new man

Freedom, hey – day! hey – day freedom!  freedom, hey – day freedom!”

     Caliban firmly believes that his new master, Stephano will be able to release him from his servitude to Prospero. His plot to kill Prospero is his desperate attempt to gain freedom.

      Though his evil intentions and acts cannot be ignored  but at the same time his desire for freedom also can not  be dismissed.

Ariel‘s Longing for Freedom

       Even Ariel, the faithful servant of Prospero, yearns for freedom. Being a spirit of air, freedom seems to be the very essence and meaning of his life. It is only Prospero’s potent magic that can harness him into human service.

    Over and above that Prospero’s repeated promise of freedom, makes him prompt and diligent in carry out Prospero’s order. Then Prospero has to promise him to set him free at the end of two days.

     Every time Prospero sets him a task and repeats his promise, Ariel performs his task more promptly.

     When Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo have been hunted by spirits whom Ariel Simmons, Prospero is very pleased with Ariel’s service and repeats his promise of Ariel’s freedom –

“Shortly shall my labours end and thou 

   Shalt have the air at freedom; for a 

   little fellow, and do me service”.

   Finally Prospero charges Ariel to provide calm seas and auspicious gales and then he is free for ever:

” That is thy Charge: Then to elements

     Be free, and farw thou well!”.

 The Tempest:  True Freedom for Ariel

Question : ” The true freedom of man consists in service”. Discuss the statement with reference to the character of Ariel.

Answer  : Ariel is a spirit of air, but he is quite at home in sea and fire.  Although Ariel is not a human, biut he is presented as a lovable and pleasing creature having admirable human qualities. Prospero is Ariel’s master. Ariel is the source of Prospero’s  magical powers. Ariel eorks for Prospero with the hope of being freed by Prospero for his devoted service

     Ariel’s Crave for Freedom

       Being a spirit of air, freedom seems to be the very essence and meaning of his life. It is only Prospero’s potent magic that can harness him into human service. But Ariel also yearns for freedom. Prospero’s repeated promise of freedom makes him prompt and diligent in carrying out Prospero’s orders. Prospero wants Ariel to serve him for some time more before he is finally set free.


     Ariel’s Love for his Master

      Ariel is bound to Prospero by a feeling of gratitude and he loves Prospero. He serves Prospero loyally, lovingly, cheerfully and wisely. He is grateful to Prospero for having released him from a cloven pine tree where he had been captivated for twelve years by Sycorax.

       Barring one occasion on which he shows impatience with Prospero for setting him so many tasks and postponing his liberation, he shows a devotion to Prospero that is rarely found in spirits.

      Ariel’s Sense of Duty 

   Although Ariel loves freedom, he also loves his master so he performs the duties imposed on him cheerfully. He is proud of the manner in which he is able to carry out Prospero’s commands. He does not shrink from work and frequently reminds Prospero of his usefulness.

        “Remember, I have done thee worthy service”, he says to Prospero on one occasion.

     His desire for praise is seen again when, after defeating the plot against Alonso’s life, he says to himself:

     ” Prospero my lord should know what I have done”.

   Prosperoalso from his side frequently praises him, using words of encouragement and endearment. 

         “My brave spirit”, ” fine apparition ! my quaint Ariel !”, “my tricksy spirit” are some of the phrases with which Prospero acknowledges the service of Ariel.

  This way Ariel believes that the true freedom of man consists in service.

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