What did Alonso learn while on the island? How did he change in awareness, wisdom and action by the end of "The Tempest"?
What Shakespeare may want the audience to learn about the Tempest?
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We learn in the beginning from Prospero's account to Miranda that King Alonso had long been the enemy of Prospero. He had aided Antonio in his usurpation of his brother's dukedom by cruelly abandoning Prospero and three-year-old Miranda on a broken down boat in the midst of the sea. Twelve years later, when the play begins, it appears his only ambition is to be a loving parent to his daughter, Claribel, and his son, Ferdinand. Alonso's role in the play for almost the first three acts is that of grieving father. Believing Ferdinand has drowned, he is inconsolable and has little to say. When Ariel confronts Alonso with his evil act against Prospero, he is moved to dispair. Believing that his son's death is a punishment for his sin of the past, Alonso prepares to take his own life by drowning. However, Ariel brings Alonso and his courtiers to face Prospero instead. When Prospero forgives Alonso, Alonso is amazed and changes almost instantly. He asks Prospero's forgiveness and is eager to hear Prospero's tale. When Prospero tells Alonso that he, too, has lost a daughter, Alonso is filled with grief and compassion, expressing a desire to die if only the two children could be alive. Overjoyed to find his son alive, Alonso also welcomes Miranda as his new "daughter" and asks her forgiveness as well. Rejoicing and exuberant for the remainder of the play, Alonso has truly found hope for the future.
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