Examine the conflict between benevolence and dictatorship in Shakespeare's The Tempest?     

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Since Propsero fancies himself the "ruler" of the island in the play, his relationship with his subjects -- Ariel and Caliban -- show both sides of his sovereign nature, which hint at aspects of benevolence and dictatorship.

Describing someone who governs as a dictator, is someone that, in the modern world, we consider to be ruling with harsh and sometimes inexplicable authority.  Those who choose not to follow the dictator's government, are often severely punished or tortured.  And this describes the way in which Propsero holds his control over Caliban.  Both Prospero (by way of threats) and Caliban, in his fearful relating of punishments he has received, describe how Prospero's threats keep Caliban in line.

Prospero also has his fleeting moments of threatening Ariel, but mostly he praises and treats with benevolence this, his other subject.  At the end of the play, Prospero's benevolence (if you can call granting freedom benevolent) is given its conclusion in his freeing of Ariel, but is also extended to the pardon he offers to the offense done him by his brother Antonio and Alonso.

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The Tempest

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