How does Prospero use his magic in The Tempest, and how are his emotions tied to it?

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Prospero studied magic before he shipwrecked on the island, and it was his preoccupation with such studies that diverted his attention from his duties so that his treacherous brother Antonio could usurp the throne. His councillor Gonzalo ensures that some books of magic come with Prospero on the leaky vessel...

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Prospero studied magic before he shipwrecked on the island, and it was his preoccupation with such studies that diverted his attention from his duties so that his treacherous brother Antonio could usurp the throne. His councillor Gonzalo ensures that some books of magic come with Prospero on the leaky vessel in which Prospero and Miranda are set out to sea, which allows him to continue to study sorcery on the island.

On the island, Prospero is able to harness the powers of the sprite Ariel when he frees him from the cloven pine. Magic helps him control both Caliban and Ariel and enables him to make himself king of his tiny realm.

Prospero is able to divert the ship carrying his enemies, such as Antonio and Alonso (the king of Naples, who worked with Antonio to seize his throne), to the island. At this point, his use of magic becomes ever more laden with emotion. He sees an opportunity to use magic to orchestrate Miranda and Ferdinand falling in love, but even more so, he sees the chance, finally, to wreak vengeance on those who have wronged him. He uses his magical powers to terrify the shipwrecked men, but before he can enact his final revenge, his emotions again come into play.

When Ariel states how sad he is at the fear and grief Prospero's enemies are experiencing, Prospero feels ashamed. If a mere airy spirit can feel compassion, shouldn't he, as a human being, feel the same? Although he has the power to smash his enemies, better and nobler emotions lead him down the road to mercy and forgiveness. He decides both to forgive and to abandon sorcery and its powers.

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Prospero uses his magic to control others: people, spirits and, at the beginning of the play, the weather. It is striking that, at this point, he seems to regard his magic powers as inadequate recompense for the temporal power of the Duke of Milan—his birthright, of which he has been cheated. He tells Miranda that she is ignorant:

Of whence I am, nor that I am more better
Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell,
And thy no greater father.

And he proceeds to tell her how Antonio stole his dukedom, which he did not seem to value much when he had it. Prospero says that his library "was dukedom large enough," by which he means that he spent more time in study (presumably of magic, among other subjects) than in governing his dukedom. Now he is not a duke but a powerful sorcerer, and this does not seem to please him either. Prospero vents through his use of magic or by using threats of magic, but this does not seem to relieve his querulousness.

Having used his magic to colonize the island, enslave Ariel and Caliban, and generally replicate the power of a temporal ruler on the island, he then sees the chance to use Ferdinand's political power as son of the King of Naples to restore Milan to him. At the end of they play, he has renounced his powers as a sorcerer and has freed Ariel. Presumably Caliban will also be free when Prospero is no longer on the island to manipulate him.

He seems calmer and more content when he is no longer a magician and says that in Milan "Every third thought shall be my grave." Perhaps he has learned that neither magic nor temporal rule will bring him happiness while he is a slave to his own emotions.

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Prospero is the ousted Duke of Milan whose brother Antonio usurped power with the help of Alonso, the King of Naples. After spending twelve years exiled on a remote island, Prospero finally has a chance to avenge his brother and the King of Naples while simultaneously winning back his position as Duke of Milan. Prospero's emotions regarding his dukedom and revenge motivate him to use his magic to shipwreck his enemies, set up his daughter with Ferdinand, and win back his former title.

Prospero uses his magic to conjure a menacing tempest at the beginning of the play, enslave Caliban and Ariel, put Miranda to sleep, and manipulate his enemies while they are wandering throughout his island. Using magic, Prospero has control over the entire island and can execute his plan flawlessly.

Prospero's magical powers allow him to bring Miranda and Ferdinand together as well as restore his title as Duke of Milan. At the end of the play, Prospero plans on burying his magical staff and casting his magic books into the ocean where they can no longer be used by anyone. Overall, Prospero's desire to be restored to his former position and set up his daughter with Ferdinand motivate him to use his magical powers to his advantage.

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Prospero's magical abilities are all about one thing: controlling others. He lost power when he was banished from Milan, losing his social status and political power. Now he claims power through use of magic and plans to use these new powers to get himself back in Milan, with all his former status and position.

Think about what Prospero does with his magic. He enslaves Caliban and Ariel using his magic. He makes Miranda fall asleep when he does not want her to be privy to his plans. He creates a storm to wreck Ferdinand's ship and get his plan in motion.

At the end of the play, Prospero says he will burn his magic books and renounce magic itself once he is back in Milan. This reveals that he no longer needs the power magic gives him, since he is content to go back to the worldly power he once had.

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Prospero uses his magic to control Ariel and Caliban. He does this to do several things. First, he uses it to establish a kind of hierarchy on the island, with him on top, and the enslaved spirit and creature below. Second, he makes the savage Caliban into a servant. Third, he uses his magic to generate the storm that destroys the ship in the first scene. Fourth, once the men are on the island, he uses magic to create illusions and otherwise manipulate them. He does all this to produce a situation in which those who were shipwrecked will realize the evil of their ways, and eventually, bring him back to his rightful place.

Greg

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