The Tempest

Analysis of the Introduction of Ariel and Prospero in Act I, Scene 2 of The Tempest

The introduction of Ariel in the second scene of The Tempest raises some of the central issues in William Shakespeare's 17th-century play. Most notably, the themes of power, nature, and magic prove to be integral in shaping the audience's perception of Ariel, Prospero, and the island itself. Indeed, the concept of power and its use within this scene, particularly in the context of the era - where the divine right of kings was unanimously accepted - provides the foundation for a full understanding of the play. Shakespeare's presentation of the nymph Ariel as both a powerful 'brave spirit' and the slave of Prospero ('is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains') raises the question of whether Prospero has the right to summon and dismiss Ariel in such a dictatorial manner ('Go. Hence with diligence'). Ultimately, Act I, scene 2, introduces characteristics of Ariel that suggest that he has both Prospero's respect and gratitude, but also that he is irrefutably subservient to his master.

The relationship between Prospero and Ariel is a curious one. Firstly, their names have interesting connotations. Prospero brings to mind the verb 'to prosper' - suggestive of magic and conjuring,...

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