In every person the most basic desire of all is to be free. Essential to the discussion of this concept is the definition of freedom itself, which is being able to act at will, not under compulsion or restraint. Throughout “The Tempest” there is the constant struggle of obeying, followed by what that person chooses to do when they are faced with the opportunity to be liberated from their constraints. By the end of the play Caliban, Ariel and Miranda are all released from their bounds and set free. For many of these characters “freedom” means different things whether it to be escaping from and killing your master or being given leave or being able to depart from an over protective father.
The one whom controlled them all was Prospero. Prospero is in control and directs their actions and their destinies. The main way in which Shakespeare has portrayed this significant and prominent theme is through his language of these four complex charactersProspero is a god like figure on the island. Prospero is unable to escape responsibility as he has control over the whole island including Caliban, Ariel and Miranda. Essentially, all of the characters are at the whim of Prospero, which means they truly have no personal freedom while on the island and under his will. He takes advantage of his authority over the people and situations he encounters while wearing a facade of integrity and compassion to disguise his devious intentions and to retain love and respect. Initially, there are lapses in Prospero’s control over his anger when, as Ariel asks for his freedom, Prospero replies with a harsh “if thou more murmur’st, I will rend an oak, and peg thee in his knotty entrails, till thou has howl’d away twelve winters.
” Thus as the language shows he is unable to control of his emotions when he does not get his way. This not necessary a negative attribute though as it keeps his servants in check. The language also illustrates that Prospero has the qualities necessary to rule only by controlling his passions with reason. In certain section we are able witness the caring persona of Prospero shown by the language in which he uses. He tells Miranda that “I have nothing but in care of thee”, although it was his actions that caused Miranda to be in this predicament. He seems to love Ariel “do you love me” asks Ariel.
“Dearly,” my delicate Ariel.But as his emotions change so does his language. “malignant thing!” His harshness towards Caliban is his greatest weakness. It is true that Caliban “violated” Miranda. The language he uses to Caliban seems unnecessarily serve “Filth as thou art, with human care” Psychologists believe that it is easier to hurt someone if we debase them in our own minds.
One of the ways of doing this is to use language to diminish the person. For example when Prospero describes Caliban, as “hag-seed” he using non-human metaphors to describe him therefore making him seem sub human. If one examines the facts concerning Caliban and rejects all of Prospero’s subtle biases, Caliban no longer seems to be the monster Prospero makes him out to be. By using such severe domineering language, he is able to maintain his position as ruler and keeping his “servant” in line and under rule preventing them searching for freedom. Prospero is not willing to bestow Caliban and Ariel their freedom, as if he does so he will lose his servants and Prospero is not willing to that let that happen until he gains his revenge. In addition another key point to consider is that Prospero himself also seeks freedom. He is being imprisoned by his thoughts of revenge.
“yet with my nobler reason gainst my fury”. The frustration in his language shows that his feelings towards his brother Antonio that he has still unsettled business with to deal with. Prospero needs Caliban’s and Ariel’s services in order to obtain freedom and they need him to give them theirs.Caliban is one of Shakespeare’s most interesting and complex characters that he has written.
Caliban was free until Prospero came to the island and assumed authority, and Caliban, orphaned and alone, lost all claim to his only home involving Caliban in the play is his imprisonment to stay in the cave at the other side of the island. He finds this imprisonment more painful than the others because twelve years ago Prospero came to the island Caliban had been able to do whatever he wanted in the island, he had no restrictions because he owned it, with his mother Sycorax. Prospero banished him to the other side of the island and into a cave after Caliban tried to rape Miranda.Caliban tries to upset the ‘master-slave’ relationship he has with Prospero, as he believes the island was stolen from him. “An blister you all o’er” Caliban’ language endangers Prospero’s power by cursing him, Prospero punishes him physically; in one case he promises “side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up” the language that Caliban uses is a way of rebelling against the master who has forced him to become a slave. Caliban may be enslaved but his speech is anything but servile. Whereas Miranda refers to Prospero as “good sir” out of adoration, and Ariel calls him “noble master” out of fear and loyalty, Caliban curses Prospero, saying, “All the infections that the sun sucks up/ From bogs, fens, flats, on Proper fall” He is prepared to suffer excruciating cramps rather than accept an insult.
Caliban goes on to insist that he should not have to earn his freedom “this island’s mine” because the island, and all that it produces, is his. The language and style used in this scene vary subtly to imply different attitudes, characters and topics. Ariel and Caliban both use “thou” to Prospero, Ariel’s use suggest intimacy, Caliban’s unwillingness to accept his enslavement.
The juxtaposition of a spirit of the elements with a creature of the earth in the form of Caliban, brings out the bestiality of this deformed brute In this scene Ariel uses address terms such as “master” and “lord”, suggesting that she is wiling to appear servile it wins her freedom. Caliban, on the other hand, does not use one courteous term to of address; he is prepared to suffer for the sake of cursing both Prospero and Miranda. Caliban uses verse throughout this passage, suggesting that, in spite of being enslaved, his spirits free.At face value the audience assumes that the reason why he acts in the manner; is for his quest for freedom, but this is not the case. Prospero despises Caliban because he threatens his authority on the island, so he imprisons him and plagues him with pain.
Caliban’s thoughts are also controlled by Prospero, as his insolence towards his master is his way of reacting to a way of being ruled. Caliban’s role in the Tempest of how he up sets the normal balance of power. The audience is able to see true depth of Caliban when he is faced with what he perceives as freedom.”Cacaliban Has a new master; get a new man! Freedom, high-day! High-day, freedom! Freedom, high-day, freedom!”The concept of freedom is also important to our understanding of Caliban’s predicament: he was once free and is no longer so.
When he thinks he has a new master in Stephano, he sings about being free, but is such freedom ever possible for Caliban now that he has had contact with “superior” beings? This language shows Caliban’s contempt for Prospero; it also shows why Caliban is so fickle in his admiration of people. He starts serving anyone that is nice to him; Prospero, Stephano and then back to Prospero towards the end of the play. He is mentally imprisoned because he always needs a leader figure. At first it was Prospero and Caliban was desperately unhappy at Prospero’s actions and being a slave. Nevertheless, when Stephano came along brandishing “celestial liquor” Caliban was more than happy to kneel before him and even lick Stephano’s boots a number of times. This shows Caliban’s need for leadership but in spite of this when he gets it he always hates it.
This is shown most at the end of the play when Caliban actually begs Prospero to forgive him and to take him back as his slave this is completely the contrary to what Caliban had told Stephano earlier in the play.Throughout Ariel’s life she has constantly seeking freedom whether it to be from Sycorax or Prospero. It was Prospero who set Ariel free only to imprison her for his own uses. This should not be in the natural Order; as Prospero is but a mere mortal while Ariel is beyond humanity at the spiritual end of the natural hierarchy. However, the authority that Prospero possesses over Ariel is used exact his search for justice and reconciliation.
Prospero reminds Ariel of her imprisonment by Sycorax, the mad witch and first inhabitant of the island, in the cloven pine tree. Ariel was left there for twelve years after she refused to carry out the foul plots the witch had suggested. While Ariel had been prisoner of the pine, Sycorax had died and therefore Ariel had been left inside until another person with a history of magic could free him, that man was Prospero.Prospero forces Ariel to remember the torture from which the spirit was released. As a result, even though Ariel has served Prospero faultlessly and rightfully deserves freedom, the spirit still feels indebted to Prospero. To make matters worse, Prospero threatens, “If thou more murmur’st, I will rend an oak,/ and peg thee in his knotty entrails, till/ Thou hast howl’d away twelve winters.
Thus, Prospero uses language to refresh Ariel’s memory with which he induces guilt and his fear of physical torment to manipulate the spirit. Prospero is telling Ariel this because he has asked for his freedom from him, he has said no and is telling him without him he would still be in the pine. Ariel went from being imprisoned by Sycorax, to perform her evil magic, to being imprisoned in the cloven pine and then finally to be imprisoned by Prospero to do his deeds before he can get his freedom.Ariel’s main role in the Tempest is to be a slave to Prospero and although Caliban upsets power of his own accord, Ariel is forced to ‘Thou my slave, as thou report’st thyself’This language shows the restraint that she is forced to keep. Ariel feels obliged to work for Prospero, as he set her free from the imprisonment the witch Sycorax forced on her. Ariel is different from Caliban, as she has no choice when she is freed.
However Ariel yearns for freedom but is kept in line by Prospero’ doust thou forget From what a torment I did free thee’ Prospero uses callous language to influence over Ariel to make her perform near impossible feats like when she created the tempest. Therefore Ariel serves an important structure role as the whole plot revolves around magic. However Ariel has influence over Prospero as she encourages him to be lenient ‘if you now beheld them, your affections, would become tender’.
This contrast with Prospero’s other slave, while the bestial Caliban responds to Prospero on a sensory and sensual level and operates on his baser instincts, Ariel language demonstrates she rationally obeys the instructions of his master in the pursuit of liberation. Such a contrast between beast and spirit reflects the passion-reason conflict within Prospero’s own inner nature.Ariel’s utopia also consists of being free, however he wishes to be free of Prospero as a master, and wants to be “as free as mountain winds”. Se is granted this freedom by Prospero and therefore she finds a freedom on the island. However what he is not granted is freedom from language” was’t well done?”. At the end of the play the constraints of language are still evident and hence she is never really granted total freedom.When examining the theme of service versus freedom Caliban and Ariel come to mind first, but Miranda is just as “enslaved” as they are.
Prospero’s control of Miranda is evident throughout “”The Tempest”” , even from their first conversation. He says, “Canst thou remember/ I do not think thou canst…”After Miranda recalls a foggy memory of her maids, Prospero demands, “But how is it/ That this lives in thy mind?” His language vacates Miranda’s memory by causing her to doubt what she thinks she remembers; then he proceeds to give her new, slanted memories. Prospero deliberately causes Miranda doubt herself, for how could anyone be confident with a “dark and backward abysm” for a mind? Because Miranda has seen only one human being in the last twelve years (her father), Prospero has been able to construct Miranda’s complete perception of reality by controlling her beliefs, her knowledge, and consequently her ignorance.
Miranda never questions what Prospero teaches her, and even if she did, her circumstances on the island would not allow her to come to know the truth. Prospero understands this advantage but takes care to retain his daughter’s loyalty, for Miranda is his world, just as he is hers. Miranda is purely a product of her father and as her creator, so he enjoys inherent power.
She becomes whatever he wants her to be.But that changes when she sees her first glimpse of freedom in Ferdinand. “A thing divine, for natural beauty “Miranda perceives this feeling as love but in reality the man she sees before her provides liberation from Prospero. Miranda and Ferdinand believe that they have chosen each other, when in fact Prospero orchestrated their falling in love from the outset. By using reverse psychology to make the couple think he does not approve of Ferdinand, Prospero catalyses a rebellion against himself with the purpose of bringing the couple together. An important point to consider that in some cases not even thought is free and can be imprisoned.
Nevertheless Miranda goes to one form of servitude to another.” I am your wife if you will marry me;/ If not , I’ll die your maid.” The language she uses is despairing but at the same time devoted to her love. Miranda has served Prospero and is now willing to do the same for Ferdinand.Prospero does a lot of imprisoning of other people on the island; another man he imprisons is Ferdinand.
He imprisons him in two ways. One physically, in the prison collecting wood and the other magically when Ferdinand drew his sword and Prospero froze Ferdinand in his own body. I believe he imprisons him for two reasons. The first is the one most focused on in the play, Prospero wants Miranda and Ferdinand to fall in love gradually and really make the most of the time they have.
“Am I this patient logman” Ironically, Ferdinand doesn’t mind being imprisoned not being (free) so long as he can see Miranda.In the final scene Prospero has promised a new start away from slavery and servitude. He assigns the future of the island to Caliban and Ariel “Now my charms are all o’ erthrown” which concludes the theme of colonisation.
Although Prospero criticises Caliban’s behaviour he realises that his freedom is imminent “Ay, that I will” and accepts his fate. Caliban is freed from his foul mouth and no longer feels the need for dishonourable language. Ariel takes her last order from Prospero by ensuring good weather for the ships, and then receives his freedom. Then, at the end of the play he was able to obtain his freedom from Prospero after Prospero achieved his plan of revenge. Prospero has gained and lost a great deal in this final scene.
Not only has he lost his two servants but has lost his daughter as well. “I have lost my daughter”. Conversely he has gained his pardon from the servitude of retribution that has plagued him for the last twelve years.In conclusion everything can be imprisoned whether it be beasts, sprits, daughters or even a magician’s quest for revenge. But once something has been constricted there is also the possibility of freedom. Shakespeare touches on several different methods of gaining power; by constructing a mind that does not question authority, as in the case of Miranda, by fear, as with Ariel, and by force, like he does with Caliban. The languages used by these characters also show a discrepancy.
Whereas Miranda refers to Prospero as “good sir” out of adoration, and Ariel calls him “noble master” out of fear and loyalty, Caliban curses Prospero, saying, “All the infections that the sun sucks up “. Though in the end Prospero frees Ariel, pardons Caliban, and plans to return to Milan where Miranda and Ferdinand will be married. When these individuals are faced with freedom they either return to the place in which they call home, stay with what they truly love or simply spread there wings and fly.