Who is Prospero?

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bank4320 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Prospero is the protagonist of William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest."  He is an exiled duke from Milan living on an island in the Mediterranean, even though the play itself seems to have been largely inspired by exploration accounts of the New World.  In addition to being a duke, Prospero is also a magician who has overthrown Sycorax, the witch-queen of the island, whose son, Caliban, Prospero has made his servant.  Also living with Prospero are his daughter Miranda and the spirit Ariel.  The action of the play begins long after the exile, with Prospero's brother Antonio--the current duke of Milan responsible for Prospero's exile--being shipwrecked on the island, leading to the restoration of Prospero's dukedom. At the restoration of the dukedom, Prospero renounces his magical practices and breaks his wand.  Some critics have interpreted this as being symbolic of Shakespeare, the playwright, retiring from his vocation (as "The Tempest," from what we know, appears to have been the last of Shakespeare's plays that was not co-written.)

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