The Tempest Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In William Shakespeare's play The Tempest, how is Prospero presented as a magician, ruler, and father?

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Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator


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The interesting thing about Prospero as a ruler, a father, and a magician is that his performance in all these roles is rather ambiguous when it comes to morality. Prospero cannot be easily categorized as heroic or villainous; his personality has a mix of both to the point where individual critics and audience members debate whether he is a tyrant or a benevolent figure.

As a father, Prospero clearly cares about Miranda. He protects her from being raped by Caliban and is concerned Ferdinand only wants to seduce her at first. However, even though Miranda is in her teens, he still treats her as though she were a small girl and not someone on the verge of adulthood. When he discusses his plans with Ariel, he puts Miranda to sleep; she will serve more as a chess piece in his overall plans. He pretty much plans out Miranda's future, allowing her little say or independence.

As a ruler, Prospero is fair to those who are fair to him, but he is also capable to brutal retaliation to those who are...

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