Violence In The Tempest

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1. ‘I’ll wrack thee with old cramps, / Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar, / That beasts shall tremble at thy din.’ (1.2.372-74) Interrogate the representation of violence in The Tempest.
In the Shakespearean comedy The Tempest, we are presented with the psychological violence associated with the abuse of power and continuous theme of colonialism explored throughout the play. In early works of Shakespeare it is evident that the violence interrogated in his plays consists of bloodshed and physical torture as opposed to his later works such as The Tempest where the play focuses on the ideology of psychological violence. The Tempest was one of the last plays written by Shakespeare and is recognised as one of his most popular works
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Unlike Shakespeare’s other main characters, he is much more enigmatic. In they play Prospero is portrayed as the rogue who seeks revenge on his brother Antonio for his treachery. In this Shakespearean comedy it becomes clear that Prospero is the heart of power on the island. Evidently Prospero has been wronged by his brother’s usurping which he could not control and now uses his magic as a tool for controlling the events that occur on island throughout the play. The theme of power in this play is hugely significant as it clear that the violence interrogated in this play is in relation to power and the abuse of that power by the protagonist. When we first meet Prospero we are also introduced to his 15 year old daughter Miranda. In Act 1 Scene II we are presented with aspects of violence as Prospero retells his past to Miranda and in doing so he explains how they got to this current situation and how “that situation involves treason and murder” (Nostbakken, 3) In doing so he retells Miranda how “his Brother Antonio persuaded Alonso the king of Naples, to assist him in overthrowing Prospero and taking his dukedom of Milan” (3). It is clear that Prospero, although throughout the play is the one causing the psychological violence, in this case he is the victim. In this scene it is evident that Prospero suffered from both psychological and physical violence bestowed upon him by his brother Antonio. Evidently Antonio’s wish was to have Prospero and his daughter killed however they were saved by Gonzalo a trustful councilor who set them up for a prosperous life on the island. It becomes clear that the violence in this play caused by Prospero was brought upon him and is therefore influenced by his brother’s treatment towards him, again we see that the need for power overpowers the love between the two brothers and later leads to a series of psychological torture for other
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