The main conflict in this play occurs within the psyche of the powerful Prospero, who is often said to be a representation of Shakespeare. It is the conflict between revenge and mercy.
Prospero and his daughter have been abandoned for many years on a largely deserted island, due to the treachery of Prospero's brother, Antonio, who has usurped the dukedom of Milan from him. Alonso, the King of Naples, colluded with Antonio on the overthrow. When a ship holding both Antonio and Alonso sails near the island, Prospero sees his chance for revenge.
He uses his command of magic to raise a storm that shipwrecks the crew on his island, where the sprite Ariel then uses magic to trick, confuse, and scare the shipwrecked passengers.
Just when Prospero is in a position to exact his final revenge, however, Ariel tells him in some distress that he feels their enemies have already suffered enough. They are frightened and disoriented. Ariel says he feels sorry for them.
Prospero is so impressed and humbled...
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