The Tempest

Fantastical Elements within the Tempest 12th Grade

The “fantastical” elements of The Tempest by William Shakespeare are made evident by the introduction of Ariel, the spirit, Caliban, the son of a witch, and Prospero, a banished duke who has mastered occult powers. Despite what seems to be an expression of gratitude and repayment of debt for their respective rescue from imprisonment, both Ariel and Caliban submissively serve Prospero because they are enslaved by his powers, and are essentially mere instruments to his intricate plan to regain his usurped power. Shakespeare uses the characterizations of Aerial and Caliban and their interactions with Prospero upon an isolated island in the first act to illustrate themes of power, hierarchical order, and law and justice.

Ariel is a spirit that appears to be indebted to Prospero and assists Prospero with his own powers as a servant, yet at the same time, Ariel’s relationship with Prospero is not one as simply defined as master and slave. Without a doubt, Ariel is obedient to his “noble master” (1.2.357). Ariel’s exaggerated language when he “answer[s]” (1.2.225) to Prospero with “[his] best pleasure” (1.2.225) and “[his] strong bidding task” (1.2.227) is to the point of sycophantic as he strives desperately to appease Prospero....

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