March 3: The Tempest

Miranda and her father, Prospero, witnessed the storm that caused the shipwreck during Act I, Scene I. Miranda questions her father and accuses him of causing the storm in the ocean.  Why does Prospero start the storm and how is he able to create a storm in the first place?

5 thoughts on “March 3: The Tempest

  1. In act I, scene II, page 13, Prospero tells Miranda to help him remove his cloak and then reveals to her that this it is magic. Then in Act I, Scene II, page 25 he reveals the reason why he has conjured up the storm in the first place: Know thus far forth:
    By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune
    (Now my dear lady) hath mine enemies
    Brought to this shore.
    We find out right after Miranda falls asleep that Prospero has a servant named Ariel who carried out the storm per his request. She is indebted to him because of the fact that he saved her from being trapped in a hollow pine tree in which she was placed by her previous master who was an evil witch.

  2. As stated before Prospero is able use his magical powers in order to create the storm which shipwrecks the unlucky sailors and our quarrelsome characters. It appears that this power is something that Prospero has wielded his whole life and may have even passed on to his daughter Miranda. The how matters to me less than why he chose to exert his power before the eyes of his daughter. It is in my opinion, as deduced from the text, that Prospero shows Miranda his power as standing evidence as he makes the case for the pair’s true identity. We meet these characters at a critical point in their journeys as while Prospero has grown old, his daughter is coming of age. Before they can go on their quest to restore rule, father must tell daughter of her true nature. This is said bluntly as Miranda wakes for her nap. “Come, I have other business for thee,” (35) Prospero tells her. It is clear that Prospero will use Miranda as the temptest which will beset the balance between Prospero and Antonio

  3. Basically, Prospero has a magic cloak that gives him the power to do things such as start a storm. He starts the storm to lure Antonio and his son Ferdinand to the island, in order to begin the process of restoring him and his daughter’s rightful status as rulers. This is all a part of a master plan to get Ferdinand and Miranda to fall in love, seen when he lures him to Miranda by Ariel’s singing and then denies knowing about Ferdinand’s arrival, accusing him of coming “upon this island as a spy, to win it from me, the lord on ‘t” (549). Clearly he is using all of this in order to rule Milan once again, explaining his starting of the storm in the first place.

    • In agreement that Prospero uses magic to cause the storm with the use of his cloak and his magic books, he also uses Ariel, a spirit that he rescued from a witch’s cell. Ariel flies around the ship and creates the thunder, lightening, and wind and scatters everyone throughout the island. Prospero is also very clever and has planned everything from the moment the ship passed the island. This is all because Prospero wants revenge on those who ran him from his home, Sebastian and Antonio, and forced him to find shelter on that island with his daughter. He also decides it would be in his and his daughter’s best interests if Miranda were to marry Ferdinand to restore her to her rightful place as daughter of a duke, which he sets up with the help of his magic as well.

  4. I will add that Prospero’s power extends beyond his magic cloak, which gives him the ability to conjure up a storm. His power manifests in language, as well. His conversations with Ariel in Act I demonstrate how his rhetoric constructs the past Ariel remembers. Ariel nicely reminds Prospero that he promised him one year off of work if he doesn’t complain. Prospero is angered by this and takes the opportunity to remind Ariel that if it weren’t for his rescue, he would still be imprisoned; “Dost thou forget/ from what torment I did free thee?” (300). By referencing this, he is able to reconstruct how Ariel feels about his request and then instills fear in him by threatening to imprison him. In the opening Act we have already seen Prospero wield the magical power of a storm, enchant his daughter, and establish authority over Ariel through language of fear.

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