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Forgiveness in The Tempest Essay


Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick, yet with my nobler reason gainst my fury do I take part: the rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance (V, i). In The Tempest by William Shakespeare, exhibits through emotional battles, how two characters undergo life changing experiences that deal with forgiveness, and compassion. The story told of a magician named Prospero, his daughter Miranda, their slaves Caliban and Ariel who inhabit deserted island until a stranded party come. This party comprised of those who wronged Prospero back at the mainland of Italy such as the King Alonso, Prince Ferdinand, Antonio, Duke of Milan, along with others that are known to Prospero. While Prosperos sophistry towards the shipwrecked party plays a major role while Mirandas love affair with Prince Ferdinand gives a hint of romance. Through the events that unfold, the characters experience transforms them as their emotional battles shape their attitudes.

Prospero initially started as an unforgiving person who focused on revenge and vengeance. These feelings that were harbored of vengeance where heightened when he had Ariel bring the conspirators unto the island in the tempest. As his emotions and his hatred toward the conspirators increase, they are shown through his words directed at them, Now my dear lady, hath mine enemies brought to this shore... (I, i). Although his actions, such as the enchanted clothes placed on a line for Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo, or display of the harpies for King Alonso and his group, were done for the enjoyment of Prospero. But this marked the beginning of Prosperos demise of his vengeance and revengeful nature. It is only then when he takes the approach to forgive all those who have wronged him in the past and to have his emotional battle against himself over.

Forgiveness was the main change in Prosperos life that made him change from an unforgiving tyrant to a charitable person. This major change helped Prospero over the course of the story to lose the unforgiving feel he gave off. Prosperos major change, contributed to the theme of vengeance is not everything that Shakespeare shows.

Alonso reflects major change throughout the events that occurred as well as his actions and his feelings. His actions at the beginning were those of an angered man that wished to be in charge of those around him. His hatred toward Prospero and his willingness to help Antonio usurp the power of the dukedom illustrate his actions of dislike and distrust. Alonsos feelings soon change after he believes his son lost to the tempest. Through actions of remorse, such as asking forgiveness from both Prospero and Miranda, demonstrate his willingness to atone for his past actions. Alonso exemplifies his remorse through the comment made to Miranda, But, O, how oddly will it sound that I must ask my child forgiveness. (V,i).

Alonso illustrated his change, like Prospero, from a ruthless person to a humbled man. His transformation marked his journey through his personal tempest. His compassion towards Prospero and Miranda increase after Alonso atoned for his past actions.

Although Alonso and Prospero begin with emotional battles, these battles are needed to have the drastic changes make them into better people. While Prospero undergoes different experiences that change him from a vengeful tyrant to a charitable man, Alonso benefits from being reunited to his son to transform from a ruthless man to a modest person. Their inner battles released them from their destructive tendencies. As you from crimes would pardond be, let your indulgence set me free (Epilogue).

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