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

Expert Answers info

Blaze Bergstrom eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write4,283 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

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,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 851 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write774 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Noelle Matteson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write239 answers

starTop subject is Literature





check Approved by eNotes Editorial