Theme Of Vengeance In The Tempest

987 Words4 Pages
Vengeance vs. Virtue The play The Tempest, by Shakespeare, explores the values of vengeance and forgiveness through the story of Prospero. The main conflict of the story is Prospero's lack of forgiveness for his brother Antonio, who stole his throne. This causes him to seek vengeance on Antonio and all his allies. Through the events of the story, it is evident that there is more value in virtue compared to vengeance. The action of vengeance does not resolve the original issue and in fact, creates internal struggles, while forgiveness allows for a greater sense of happiness. Acting on vengeful feelings, although a seemingly useful answer, does not truly resolve any issues. This is expressed when Prospero asks, "But are they, Ariel, safe?"…show more content…
These issues can be seen in the poem "Caliban," where he states, "Before hatred ate my heart / there was music," (Dancing Bear, 1-2). Before Prospero came to the island Caliban experienced happiness through his mother. However, after Prospero took over, Caliban only focused on getting his vengeance. This caused him to only focus on the grief in his life, not allowing for any positive emotions to be expressed. Prospero's indifference about how Caliban felt, meant that Caliban's emotional distress was one sided. In addition to Caliban, Prospero's yearning for vengeance also creates internal issues for himself. After Ferdinand and Miranda announce their marriage, Prospero claims his "rejoicing / At nothing can be more," because he must "perform / Much business appertaining," (Shakespeare, 95-99). Usually, a father focuses more on his daughter getting married, however Prospero can only focus on his plans for vengeance. Some believe that the characters internal struggles were caused by the wrongdoers, and not a lack of forgiveness; however, at the end of the play, after Prospero becomes a more virtuous character, his conflicts with his brother and Caliban are resolved, clearly showing that their focus on vengeance is what caused the internal struggles. The act of vengeance creating many issues expresses the fact that there is more value in
Open Document