How Does Shakespeare Present the Relationship Between Prospero and Miranda? Analysis

‘The Tempest’ was one of the final plays of a playwright and an English poet, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English Language, William Shakespeare. The first performance of ‘The Tempest’ was on November the 1st 1611, there was a great demand for entertainment such as plays during the Elizabethan Era. Patriarchal Society plays a key role in ‘The Tempest’ in which Prospero holds authority over Miranda. Another aspect of how patriarchal society is shown is that Miranda is the only female character in the play however Sycorax, Caliban’s mother and Miranda’s mother are mentioned briefly.

There are many themes explored throughout the pay such as love, betrayal, loyalty, greed, affection, protection, desire, conspiracy, envy, authority, rape and magic. The presentation of the relationship between Prospero and Miranda questions and debates the family love between them. Miranda shows a loving, warm nature towards her father which consists of great respect as well. This is depicted in Act 1 Scene 2 as she addresses her father, ‘My dearest Father, you have the put the wild waters in this roar… and now I pray, you sir. Miranda lacks trust in her father this is clear to the reader as she simply assumes that he is the result of ‘The Tempest. ’ The superlative ‘dearest’ shows her affection toward her father in addition this she addresses him as Sir which shows her immense respect toward him. Miranda is often referred to her as ‘wench’ a colloquial term for a lower class woman. This portrays her as the ideal Elizabethan woman. Miranda is represented in the light of the ultimate lady through her obedience to Prospero’s’ orders for example, ‘I pray thee, mark me’.

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This is known as the omission of syllables when an unstressed syllable is sometimes omitted. This happens especially after a marked pause thus either in the first foot, or after an emphatic monosyllable often an imperative. Miranda reply to this is, ‘O, good sir, I do… Your tale, sir, would cure deafness. ’’ ‘O, good sir, I do’ is another example of the omission of syllables. Furthermore it is the use of hyperbole, exaggerating that Prospero‘s tale has the ability to cure deafness, This line also contains a metaphor comparing the tale to a remedy.

Her character speaks little with just this style of obedient or emotional words and does not object or have a large amount of say to her father, Prospero. Prospero nature is depicted in the omission of the syllables despite his dominant, controlling side he appears to have a caring attitude in addition to this. Prospero loving attitude to his daughter is shown in many areas of the plays which contrasts his threatening language to Caliban. This is the use of juxtaposition which creates a wider debate in the play of Prospero’s character.

He desribes his daughter as, ‘O a Cherubin… thou didst smile Infused with a fortitude from heaven’ when I have deck’d the sea. ’ This is the use of metaphorical language as Prospero compares his daughter to an angel, furthermore there is the use of hyperbole exaggerating that Miranda’s smile gave him extreme strength and the ability to sustain his spirits against whatever would come his way. This closeness showed between the two helps us to establish that they have a good, intimate relationship.

Ferdinand uses antithesis to show the contrasting characteristics between father and daughter. ‘She is ten times gentler than her father’s crabbed. Miranda’s gentleness opposes Prospero’s bad temper, the opposition of words o describe their character is immensely effective as the reader can fully understand the quality of each character more precisely. Despite Ferdinand’s’ complaints, Prospero is doing this to test his love for his daughter, which again show how highly protective he is of Miranda, not to marry someone who will not be the caring husband of her dreams.

In Act 4 Prospero appears high protective of Miranda’s virginity, this due to the fact that during the Elizabethan Era, adultery was an unforgivable sin and that keeping virginity until at the position of marriage, was virtue. Prospero relates to Miranda’s virginity by stating, ‘If thou dost break her virgin-knot before all Sanctimonious ceremonies… barren hate, sour-eyed disdain and discord shall bestrew the union of your bed with weeds so loathly. This is personification; Prospero compares disdain or unworthiness to being sour-eyed and the words barren hate compare it being desolated. Prospero uses these words to warn the lovers of committing adultery and the reader fears that he may go to the extent of casting a spell to do this. Regardless of Prospero’s’ protectiveness over Miranda he is proud of her in many ways Prospero’s pride in his daughter is shown as he boasts of her to Ferdinand in Act 4, ‘thus boosting her confidence as well I ratify this rich gift… she will outstrip all praise and make it halt behind her. Prospero uses metaphorical language which compares Miranda to a rich gift, he is depicted as a thoughtful, pleasant father as says, that she will outrun all praise and make it stop behind her. On the other hand the comparison of Miranda to a rich gift suggest that Prospero is comparing her to an object, this was common in Shakespeare’s’ time. Women were considered objects or little gift given and controlled by males in the Elizabethan Era. Miranda resemble some of the naive women of the era, as she is unaware of Prospero’s servant Ariel.

Prospero is immensely secretive, hiding the fact from Miranda, that he has a servant known as Ariel, by casting spells on her that result to drowsiness. To accomplish this he says to Miranda, ‘Thou art inclined to sleep:’t is a good dullness and give it way… thou canst choose. Come away, servant, come. I am ready now. ’ His action reveals to us that he may not trust Ariel to behave appropriately towards Miranda, this possibly could be the consequences of Caliban’s’ actions. Furthermore Miranda may react strongly believing that magic is not suitable way to gain justice over his dukedom and his brother’s betrayal.

These could be the ration explanations to why Prospero is incredibly secretive. I believe that Prospero and Miranda have a successfully family relationship however in some areas there appears to be a lack of trust and secrecy. Shakespeare died at the age of 52 which was over the life expectancy at the time, 42 meaning he was writing Prospero character in the viewpoint of old man therefore clearly understanding the reality of what Prospero is going through as he himself was an elderly man.

Shakespeare was the father to two daughters: Suzanna and Judith who suffered much difficulty after her husband’s affair, Shakespeare was concerned of this news, subsequently in his will he rewarded Judith with ? 500, to support herself. Prospero most likely represents the father Shakespeare was to his daughters. Shakespeare’s craft includes many thing such as : imagery, personification, metaphor, blank verse, antithesis, prose and hyperbole. This is effective as it help the audience understand each characters intentions and purpose in the play.

Shakespeare use moving line for example Prospero says ‘I have done nothing is care thee’ this is to be expected as how Shakespeare felt to his daughters. Firstly a modern audience would not regard ‘The Tempest’ as a comedy as result of there being no puns, joke or hilarious actions. The audience would feel Miranda is not being given equal rights of her controlling father and the young love between the two lovers is not true or long lasting as it happens too rapidly. Nowadays the audience will find hard to believe that at the age of 15, Miranda is a married woman as she is still a child.

The Jacobean Period will find the silent daughter who has no say and young love and marriage of children ordinary, customary aspects of life. The play consists of many social traditions such as the game of a chess (a common game at the time) and music which is mainly present when Ariel is nearby. Girls marry at young age and playing the role of the obedient daughter is an example of a cultural tradition. ‘The Tempest’ debates the relationship of Miranda and Prospero though starts a new strand of enquiry who is worse Caliban or Antonio?

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How Does Shakespeare Present the Relationship Between Prospero and Miranda? Analysis. (2016, Dec 18). Retrieved from