Discuss the exploration of conflict and its resolution in The Tempest.


The Tempest

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Clearly the play contains many different and varying forms of conflict from the conflict between Prospero and Caliban and Ariel to the conflict between the island's more worldly incomers. However your question seems to point towards a more general theme of the text that concerns reconciliation. At the end of the play, Prospero seems reconciled to leaving the island and losing his magical powers. He is also reconciled to his brother, Antonio. Likewise, Caliban, that much abused personage in the play, seems to undergo some form of "repentance," accepting his position and place in the order of things of the island. As he leaves, he says, "I'll be wise hereafter, / And seek for grace," that suggests that he has learned from his experiences of being tricked by Stephano and Trinculo and will not be taken in so easily again.

However, due perhaps to the brevity of the play, there exists a certain amount of ambiguity in these apparently neat and tidy resolutions, and the audience is left with more questions than answers. How will Prospero cope with the loss of his magic and the power that this gave him? Will he find "normal" life satisfying with the loss of these privileges? Is Antonio really reconciled towards his brother or will he try to engineer his downfall yet again so he can be Duke of Milan once more? Perhaps key to all of these questions is: does the play illustrate any serious and permanent change of character? Considering these questions perhaps leaves us with more doubts than hopes about the resolution that is offered to us.

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