In act 3 of The Tempest, how does Prospero treat Ferdinand? Why? How is this treatment like and unlike the treatment of Caliban?

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Both Ferdinand and Caliban are enslaved by Prospero. Ferdinand, however, performs his tasks cheerfully for the sake of Miranda, who begs him not to work so hard:

This, my mean task,Would be as heavy to me as odious, butThe mistress which I serve quickens what's dead And makes...

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Both Ferdinand and Caliban are enslaved by Prospero. Ferdinand, however, performs his tasks cheerfully for the sake of Miranda, who begs him not to work so hard:

This, my mean task,
Would be as heavy to me as odious, but
The mistress which I serve quickens what's dead
And makes my labours pleasures...

The enslavement of Ferdinand, moreover, is only temporary. Prospero looks on the interactions between Ferdinand and Miranda with qualified approval. He treats Ferdinand like this partly from petulance and lingering resentment, but mainly because he wants to test the prince’s devotion to his daughter. Observing their courtship at a distance, he concludes:

So glad of this as they I cannot be,
Who are surprised withal; but my rejoicing
At nothing can be more.

While he engineers and endorses the betrothal of Ferdinand and Miranda, Prospero was appalled by Caliban’s advances towards her. Caliban remembers that Prospero was not always a harsh master:

When thou camest first,
Thou strokedst me and madest much of me, wouldst give me
Water with berries in't, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I loved thee...

Prospero’s answer is that Caliban attempted to violate Miranda’s honor. Until then, it appears that Prospero’s treatment of Caliban was more amiable than his initial behavior to Ferdinand.

Ultimately, Prospero treats Ferdinand better than Caliban because Ferdinand is a prince. One might argue that Caliban is a prince as well. His mother, Sycorax, was queen of the island. Ferdinand, however, is a prince from the civilized world into which Prospero was born and in which he hopes to return to his position as Duke of Milan. It is clear throughout the play that Prospero regards a temporal duke as something far greater than an enchanter, and his approval of Ferdinand as a son-in-law serves to emphasize this.

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In act 3 of the play The Tempest, Prospero treats Ferdinand as a slave, employing him as such. Prospero is frustrated by the loss of his kingdom, and he is, to a certain extent, punishing Ferdinand for being the son of the King of Naples (who helped usurp Prospero). However, Prospero does not intend to keep Ferdinand as a slave forever; he enslaves him in order to test the burgeoning relationship between Ferdinand and Prospero's daughter, Miranda. Caliban, on the other hand, is viewed as a curse and is the child of an evil witch.

Besides the similarity in their enslavement, Ferdinand and Caliban are also similar in their interest and pursuit of Miranda. However, this is where they most markedly differ: in how they realize their desires. While Caliban pursued his desire by attempting to rape Miranda, Ferdinand labors happily for Prospero, knowing that he could win the hand of Miranda as a result. Thus, the difference between them is that Caliban believes he is entitled to Miranda; Ferdinand accepts that he must labor to become worthy of her.

Because of their differences, while Prospero gives them both the same responsibilities, Caliban was treated cruelly due to his resentment towards Prospero and Miranda. While Prospero bosses Ferdinand around, his enslavement is a temporary matter, as Prospero does ultimately wish for Ferdinand to marry Miranda.

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In Act III, Prospero gives Ferdinand Caliban's old duties. However, Prospero does not view Ferdinand in the same light as he views Caliban. To Prospero, Ferdinand is the heir apparent to Alonso's throne (Alonso is the king of Naples). As such, Ferdinand is considered a worthy claimant of Miranda's hand in marriage. On the other hand, Prospero thinks of Caliban as the cursed offspring of a demented witch, Sycorax. 

Although Caliban has repeatedly asked to be released from Prospero's employ, the latter has not seen fit to give his servant the freedom he desires. In Act III Scene I, we see Ferdinand performing Caliban's former duties. He brings in firewood but delights in laboring on behalf of the beautiful Miranda. Meanwhile, Miranda (smitten by Ferdinand) bids him rest from his labors. Prospero, hidden from sight by a powerful spell, watches as Ferdinand and Miranda engage in a lovers' courtship. Far from being angry, Prospero is pleased that both Miranda and Ferdinand are romantically inclined towards each other. 

So, although Ferdinand's servility is similar to Caliban's on a superficial level, it differs in terms of purpose. In giving Ferdinand Caliban's old position as a slave, Prospero is testing Ferdinand's intentions towards Miranda. As a father, Prospero wants to ascertain the depth of Ferdinand's interest in Miranda; he wants to make sure that Ferdinand's feelings are genuine. On the other hand, Prospero keeps Caliban enslaved because he does not trust him. To Prospero, Caliban is merely the cursed spawn of an evil witch, unworthy of regard or compassion. Certainly, Prospero would never consider Caliban a fit husband for his daughter.

In Act III, there is no love lost between Caliban and Prospero. In fact, in Act III Scene II, Caliban plots with Stephano to kill Prospero. So, although Prospero commits Ferdinand to his service in Act III, this is temporary. Ferdinand's service will only last until Prospero can force his old enemies to account for their past actions. Then, he will rejoice in marrying his daughter to Ferdinand. On the other hand, Prospero never changes his views about Caliban; to Prospero, Caliban is the monster who tried to rape Miranda for the purpose of peopling the island with a race of Calibans. Because of Caliban's depravity, Prospero considers him unworthy of his regard or mercy. This is quite unlike the way he views or treats Ferdinand, the future king of Naples. 

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In Act Three (not Two), Prospero treats Ferdinand like a slave. There are several reasons for this. He is still angry over the loss of his kingdom, and Ferdinand is linked to that. He (Prospero) is showing his mastery over the island. He's trying to keep control of his daughter…though losing to love. And he's trying to test Ferdinand's character and make him work to demonstrate his love of Miranda. It's a test, like those in fairy tales and myths.

It's like his treatment of Caliban because both must labor for Prospero due to his authority and magic (and both want Miranda). It's unlike because it will end.

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