The Tempest Comparative Essay

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In The Tempest by William Shakespeare and A Tempest by Aimé Césaire, both authors use characterization to show that in an ideal relationship between citizens and the king, compromise and compassion should be used instead of confinement, force or even magic. In The Tempest, Shakespeare uses the interactions between the characters Prospero, Caliban, and Ariel to exemplify these notions. Prospero, the lawful Duke of Milan, was overthrown and left abandoned with his daughter Miranda. At the beginning, his forceful and violent nature and use of magic allows him to take control of the island. He is extremely dictatorial, and expects gratitude and devotion from both his daughter and his servants. He is not afraid of using manipulation and magic on…show more content…
In Césaire’s version, Prospero has been banished to an island in the Caribbean, Ariel is a mulatto slave, and Caliban is a black slave. Much like in The Tempest, Prospero plays the power hungry, mean ruler. In the first Act Prospero says to Caliban: "Gracious as always, you ugly ape! How can anyone be so ugly?.... You savage…a dumb anaimal, a beast I educated, trained, dragged up…”. He is rude and pretentious, believing that he is better than everyone else. Ariel, however, is kind and compassionate, following all Prospero’s orders and sincerely believing that Prospero will honor his promise of emancipation. Caliban plays the role of the monster, as he attempts to overthrow Prospero any chance he gets. In just the first act, Caliban welcomes Prospero by saying “Uhuru!”, the Swahili term for “freedom”. Caliban is always trying to find ways to reach independence. Later in the story, Caliban tells Prospero to “Call me X. That would be best. Like a man without a name. Or, to be more precise, a man whose name has been stolen”. Césaire uses an allusion to Malcolm X to reinforce the atmosphere of freedom, independence, and human rights. Towards the end, Prospero sends his army off the island in order to take over a place in Naples for his daughter Miranda and her husband Ferdinand. But when everyone begins to leave, Prospero decides to stay. He does not want to leave everything he has built on the island. In the end, only he and Caliban remain. In the last scene Prospero states “Well, Caliban, old fellow, it’s just two now, here on the island…only you and me. You and me…” and then slowly Caliban’s “Freedom” song starts to play. The “Freedom” song demonstrates decolonization and importance of equality and compassion. By this time Prospero has realized that he cannot control everyone and sometimes he has to compromise

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