Consider the relationship between Ferdinand and Miranda in Act 3 Scene 1 and its relevance to The Tempest.

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This scene, which features the main courtship of Ferdinand and Miranda, raises many interesting issues that are central to the play as a whole. One of the crucial things it is important to remember is the role of Prospero in this scene. Even though the main action of the scene only concerns his daughter and his future son-in-law, Prospero, as always, is present, cloaked in invisibility, as he stagemanages what occurs on his island and ensures that his will becomes reality. This is a central theme of the play, as Prospero is a figure who is shown to have immense authority and power on his island as he uses his own magic and his control of Ariel to effectively divide the different groups and supervise them, bringing them together according to his will and enacting a resolution as he desires in his timing. Note Prospero's words at the very end of this scene:

So glad of this as they I cannot be,

Who are suprised with all; but my rejoicing

At nothing can be more.

Prospero says that although he cannot share in Ferdinand and Miranda's gladness because it comes from surprise, he is definitely able to rejoice with them. He is not surprised because the union of his daughter and Ferdinand is something he has planned. His total control of the island allows him to bring this plan to fruition, and his invisible presence in this scene is symbolic of his control of the entire island and the action of the play. That this scene concerns the romantic engagement of two characters only serves to emphasise the theme of Prospero's control: their love has been planned and Prospero is the director of this scene, watching his plan develop and become reality.

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The Tempest

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