What conflicts take place in The Tempest?

The conflicts that take place in The Tempest primarily involve Prospero, the magician-ruler of an island on which he has shipwrecked his brother, Antonio, and others who conspired with Antonio to usurp Prospero's dukedom. Prospero's conflicts are with Antonio and Alonso, the king of Naples who aided Antonio, with Prospero's slaves, Caliban and Ariel, and with his own daughter, Miranda, who takes issue with Prospero's treatment of Ferdinand, Alonso's son with whom Miranda has fallen in love.

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The majority of conflicts in Shakespeare's The Tempest swirl around Prospero, former Duke of Milan, whose brother, Antonio, usurped his dukedom and set Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, adrift on the sea. This is how Prospero and Miranda came to be marooned on the island on which they've lived for twelve years, which Prospero rules with magic and spells.

The major conflict is between Prospero and Antonio, who was aided in his overthrow of Prospero by Alonso, the King of Naples.

Prospero causes a violent storm which shipwrecks Antonio, Alonso, and others on Prospero's island. Prospero intends to effect some kind of revenge against Antonio and Alonso, although Prospero's not quite sure what form that ultimate revenge will take, except to punish Antonio and Alonso and restore himself as Duke of Milan.

A secondary conflict involves Prospero and Caliban, an ill-tempered son of Sycorax, a witch. Prospero enslaved Caliban when Prospero and Miranda were first marooned on the island.

Prior to Prospero's arrival, Caliban ruled the island, but he was overcome by Prospero's magic, and Caliban now plots against Prospero with Alonso's jester, Trinculo, and buffoonish Stephano, who were shipwrecked on the island with Antonio and Alonso.

Prospero is also involved in a lesser conflict with Ariel, a kindly spirit who Prospero also enslaved when he came to the island. Prospero takes advantage of Ariel's good nature and repeatedly fails to keep his word to free Ariel from his servitude to Prospero.

A minor conflict arises between Prospero and Miranda regarding Ferdinand, Alonso's son, with whom Miranda has fallen in love at first sight. Prospero calls him a traitor and mistreats him with magic spells, for which misdeeds Miranda calls Prospero to task.

One conflict to which Prospero isn't a party involves Antonio and Alonso's brother, Sebastian, who conspire to kill Alonso and set up Sebastian as the king of Naples.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on June 23, 2020
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The main conflict revolves around Prospero attempting to regain his dukedom after his brother, Antonio, usurped power with the help of Alonso and banished him and Miranda from the kingdom. Using powerful magic, Prospero conjures up the tempest with the aid of Ariel to force his enemies onto the shores of his island, where he can get revenge and restore himself to power as Duke of Milan.

Another conflict concerns Alonso's search for his missing son, Ferdinand, who is on the opposite side of the island separated from the royal party. Alonso mourns the loss of his son as the royal party searches for him throughout the magical, unfamiliar island. Alonso's conflict is resolved when he discovers that Ferdinand is perfectly healthy and courting Prospero's daughter Miranda.

There is also a conflict involving Prospero's slave, Caliban, who resents his master for stealing the island and enslaving him. Caliban also believes Prospero treats him cruelly, which motivates him to team up with Stephano and Trinculo, who plan on murdering Prospero and replacing him as masters of the island.

Another conflict involves Antonio and Sebastian's plot to kill Alonso while they are on the island. Antonio attempts to convince the gullible Sebastian to kill his brother in order to become the next King of Naples. Fortunately, Ariel briefly appears to stop their conspiracy to murder Alonso in act 2.

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Since conflict is the root of drama, there are conflicts throughout The Tempest. Prospero is in conflict with his slave Caliban, who plots to overthrow and murder him, with his daughter Miranda over her love for Ferdinand (although this is really a sham conflict, as he is only using it to test the strength of Ferdinand's love), and with Ferdinand himself for holding him a prisoner and forcing him to do manual labor. He is also in conflict with his sprite Ariel over how much longer Ariel's bondage will continue, and, of course, with his usurping brother Antonio, who is the cause of Prospero and Miranda's exile to the island.

There is also comic conflict, as the drunken sailors Trinculo and Stephano fight with each other and with Caliban (egged on by Ariel's spells).

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A major conflict that takes place in The Tempest is the tension between Prospero and Antonio.  Prospero was once the Duke of Milan; however, Antonio usurped his brother from power, forcing Prospero to exile himself and Miranda to the island.  Prospero is also angry with Alonso because Alonso aided Antonio in his wrongdoing.  Prospero wants justice for himself, and this is one of the reasons why he has Ariel create the storm to run Alonso's boat ashore.

Another conflict in the play revolves around Caliban's hatred for Prospero.  When he arrived on the island, Prospero killed Caliban's mother Sycorax and took over control of the island.  Caliban feels that Prospero is intruding on his homeland and sees no reason why he should be slave to Prospero.  When Caliban meets Trinculo and Stephano, he vows to work for them instead of Prospero and the three make a plan to kill Prospero and take over the island.

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