Family Relationship in The Tempest

Family Relationship in The Tempest

? The Tempest is the last play Shakespeare wrote. The play is about Prospero who has been overthrown from his dukedom in a very unfair and ruthless faction by his brother Antonio. Prospero has magical powers. I try to show the relationship between Prospero, Miranda, Ariel, Caliban and Ferdinand. Prospero is a controlling person, he controls and dominates his daughter Miranda. This is highlighted by when he told Miranda “obey and be attentive”. On the other hand when he wants to tell his story, Prospero is very forceful and controlling, ordering her to “sit down and listen”.

He has control on Ariel as well, Prospero uses him to do anything he wants, when Ariel asks Prospero about his freedom Prospero becomes angry and threatens Ariel by saying he will open an oak tree and put him inside. Prospero wants to even control Ferdinand when he reminds him he cannot have sex with his daughter before marriage due to the fact that then (Shakespeare time) people were very much religious oriented and sex before marriage was forbidden. At first I assumed Prospero is an evil man for causing The Tempest, but I feel that he loves Miranda, Ariel and Caliban in different ways.

Prospero loves his daughter very much and would do anything to protect her and it shows this perfectly when he said “I have done nothing but in care of thee, of thee my dear one”. Prospero likes to show Miranda that anything he does is to protect her, “I have done nothing expect to protect you, protect you” and we specifically know this when Caliban wanted to rape Miranda. Prospero has two servants who are Arial and Caliban. When Prospero calls Ariel “My Ariel” this may be interpreted as endearment and caring like one would say to a child.

Although we can say that Prospero is saying that because he owns Arial rather than being a fatherly figure. Ariel is an obedient servant, when he said “what shall I do? Say what? What shall I do? ” When Prospero reminds Ariel that he released him from inside of a pine tree, Ariel effectively owes him a great debt and therefore Prospero is in a dictating position. When Caliban says “thou strok’st me” it seems that Prospero loves him as well. When Prospero came to the island he found Caliban a deformed savage and tried to teach him language. I loved thee” this shows that Caliban loves Prospero as well, because he helped Caliban to understand their language and gave him water with berries in it. Caliban showed Prospero all of the qualities of the island like the desert, the fresh springs, the fertile and salt water pits as a tour guide. I think that Arial and Caliban both don’t want to be Prospero’s servants anymore, because they want to be free. I believe that Arial is trying to be free from Prospero in a positive way, but Caliban want to be free in a negative way, because I think he is going to kill Prospero.

Prospero has a strange personality, it seems he did not trust his daughter because it took him many years to finally explain to Miranda what actually had happened in the past. This may well be down to a lack of communication or because he simply felt she was not old enough to understand but we can see when he finds his daughter loves Ferdinand, Prospero agrees they can get married and he told Ferdinand “I have given you here a third of mine own life”. Miranda is very kind. “O, the cry did knock against my very heart! this shows that Miranda is very kind and she cares about people. She likes them and she wants to try to help them. Although Miranda is upset by what her father has done, she still respects him, “My dearest father. ” This shows that she is very respectful and she cares about her father’s fillings as she doesn’t want him to get upset. She may be respectful to her father as in Shakespeare’s time children were grown with the idea of being respectful to their parents. She might also be so kind and caring to her father, because it might be in her personality.

I can see a more modern version of relationship between parents and children in the Gillian Clarke poem, ’Catrin’. This is a different relationship as opposed to The Tempest. The poem highlights the differences between mother and child and the common problems parents have with their children and include two stanzas. First stanza is in the past tense (before giving birth). This could suggest the ever-present and continuing nature of their love. Except the name of poem she never named her daughter she uses child in the first line unnamed child possibly hinting at the universality of the theme.

The first section deals with the mother before and during labour and the second relates to after birth which includes child growing up as a dependant entity. The phrase “The people and cars taking turn at the traffic lights” makes me think of the imagery relating this to intermittent pain while in labour. The red robe in the poem refers to the umbilical cord which maybe symbolised as physical and emotional in a sense that mother and child are physically connected through the cord but simultaneously there is the rope of love in the imagery sense.

Lines sixteen and seventeen ‘We’ at this point the mother and child have become separate. They have their own wills which foreshadows the conflict that comes later on. This is continued with the idea that they wanted to be ‘two’ together or to be two separate people as well: ‘to be ourselves’. The second stanza refers to after math of child’s birth, Clarke again brings up the idea of love and conflict being irresistibly entwined. When her daughter is a teenager and asks to go out in the dark, Clarke says ‘That old rope’ about my life, trailing love and conflict. That old rope’ shows that the bond, though broken physically, is still there and will always be there in her ‘heart’s pool’ which again shows the endless love that a mother will have for her child. The two topics represent relationships, in the poem, between mother and daughter and in The Tempest between father and daughter. The relationship in the Tempest is more controlling, although Prospero love his daughter but he has more control instead of care as it was written in the seventeenth century by Shakespeare, the tradition then implied as such. Children were more respectful of parents and didn’t oppose them in the way they do today.

Prospero’s approach to Miranda’s marriage at first glance seems somewhat reluctant, yet I believe because of his love for Miranda, he expresses his consent. As far as Clarke’s poem is concerned, motherly love is combined with anxiety. Although Clarke knows her daughter being out in the dark skating and she is posed by little or no danger, yet she opposes her daughter because she is anxious. In the modern world the relationships are to some extent redefined as opposed to the era when Shakespeare lived. In general children have less respect for their parents now.

As far as my understanding of The Tempest and Gillian Clark’s poem is concerned is that they both follow the feelings we all have hidden inside; love, hate, fear, fury, anxiety, control, revenge, kind, obedient, caring and so on. In The Tempest the relationships are complex. Initially one assumes Prospero to be a resentful and revenging person. As the story develops, Prospero leading his enemies into the island for the purpose of taking revenge, yet, we see Prospero changing course as he quenches his anger and departs from magic and a sense of love and forgiveness prevails upon him, he starts to become a loving, forgiving and generous person.

The Tempest was the last story Shakespeare wrote. The most prominent character in the story by far is Prospero. To me is seems Shakespeare is reflecting his own emotions in the story in the role of Prospero. Perhaps Shakespeare himself had gone through similar scenarios in real life which led him write this story. Although I believe Prospero had some kind of faith which rendered him change his approach, yet it is important to mention that religion was more predominant compared to today.