How does Shakespeare explore the theme of betrayal in The Tempest?

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Betrayal, loyalty, revenge, and reconciliation are the principal, interconnected themes of The Tempest. Prospero longs for the restoration of his dukedom; because his brother betrayed him, he is motivated as much by desire for revenge as for his and his daughter’s recouping their rightful place. Caliban as well feels betrayed by Prospero because he has been enslaved, but Prospero accuses him of wanting to violate Miranda. In contrast, Ariel seems loyal but also fears betrayal, as he is also bound to Prospero.

When Prospero tells Miranda about her heritage and how they came to the island, he explains that his own brother, the person he loved most, was the one who conspired with King Alonso: “that a brother should / Be so perfidious!” Although he does not share his whole pot, he explains that he has brought their ship to the island so he can make things right. After the travelers wash ashore, the plot develops along several tracks. Sebastian intends treason against his brother,...

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