The Tempest: Theme of Pursuit of Power

 The Tempest:  Theme of Pursuit and Exercise of Power

Question: How is the theme,the pursuit of Power brought out in the Tempest ?

Answer: One of  the leading theme of the Tempest is the pursuit of power. Several characters in the play have a strong desire for attaining power and for asserting themselves.

 1. Prospero’s use of his Supernatural Powers

• Prospero has developed supernatural power by studying books of magic. He uses his power only for good purpose, because he has no evil intentions therefore he feels no desire to harm others.

• Prospero has magical power, by using this power he controls Ariel and numerous other spirits. Prospero creates a great turmoil in the sea and in the sky. By his supernatural powers, he brings his enemies on the island and creates situations in which they are led to repent for their past actions, and finally restored with the dukedom of Milan.




2.Ariel‘s use of Supernatural Power

Ariel uses his supernatural powers under the command of Prospero for his purpose. He causes a storm on the sea, he saves the ship, he scattered them on the island. 

• He brought Ferdinand to Prospero’s cell. He also foils the conspiracy hatched by Antonio and Sebastian against Alonso’s life. He brings Alonso and the others into Prospero’s presence.

• Finally, he makes arrangements for Prospero and all the others to embark upon a voyage to Naples.

3.Pursuit of Power by Antonio and Alonso

• The power which Antonio sought was political.

• Having been entrusted with the responsibility to govern the state of Milan, Antonio become ambitious. 

• Finding his brother, Prospero was engrossed in study, Antonio made use of this opportunity to raise himself to a position of power.

• Antonio enters into a secret agreement with Alonso, the king of Naples to usurp the Dukedom of Milan from his brother Prospero and banished him.

•Alonso helped Antonio to banish Prospero because he was a sworn enemy of Prospero, and by helping Antonio he wanted to bring another dukedom under his control.

4. Sebastian’s desire for Political Power

• Antonio instigates Sebastian to murder his brother Alonso, who is asleep.

• Antonio succeeds in convincing Sebastian that, if Alonso is murdered he could become the King of Naples.

• Sebastian’s motive in agreeing to Antonio’s suggestion is the same as Antonio’s motive in expelling Prospero from Milan.

•Thus, Sebastian’s quest for power motivates him to agree to Antonio’s suggestion.

5. Stephano’s Ambition for Power

Stephano wanted to become the King of the island.

• Caliban instigates Stephano to murder Prospero if he wants to become the King.

• Semi – drunk Stephano accepts Caliban’s suggestion immediately because he sees a bright future for himself.

• However there is a sad fate awaiting Stephano. He becomes the object of Prospero’s wrath and faces defeat because of Ariel’s action.

      The best use of power is shown by none other than Prospero. He has complete control  over his own passions. So he forgives his enemies and willingly renounces his magical powers. 


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