The Tempest

Information, Justice, and Mercy: Shakespearean Ideals in the Tempest College

Do the ends justify the means? People have been asking this question since the beginning of time, but often cannot find an answer. The Tempest is about deception and manipulation of the truth, but ends with a morally clear message. Prospero is the wizard-king of the island where the drama is set; throughout the play, he manipulates characters through language and deception. However, this is not to say that Prospero is malevolent force. Indeed, Shakespeare demonstrates that Prospero’s sense of justice is the correct one with several key scenes in the play. This creates somewhat of a paradox, being, if one has to lie to achieve their goals, but their goals are noble in nature, is that acceptable? This essay will argue that Prospero’s manipulation of truth and fact lead to an interpretation of justice that Shakespeare believed in, one of mercy.

One could argue that any manipulation of the truth leads to a false sense of justice. If justice is an inherently ‘right’ concept and lying is an inherently ‘wrong’ one, then there should never be a combination of the two. Shakespeare, however, demonstrates how this is a fallacy that cannot exist in the real world. By siding his narrative with Prospero, Shakespeare demonstrates that to...

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