The Nature of the Tempest Essay
Despite Shakespearean tendency to characterize virtue through outward beauty, in The Tempest he deftly shows us nobility is not always inherent and the beast in all has hope of being tamed. There is danger in a lack of balance between nobility and in-bred, base nature. On the surface, Clinical is the ultimate representation of vile nature, brutal, selfish and untamed, and Prosper represents nobility.
Gonzalez unwittingly echoes the moral lesson of the play and hints at the two characters most likely to be party to the lesson’s exposition when he says “(For Cortes hose are people of the island) who, though they are of monstrous shape, yet note, their manners are more gentle, kind, than of our human generation you shall find many – nay, almost any’ (111. 3. 30-4). His allusion is to Clinical, a person “of the island,” and Prosper is counterpoint to Clinical. Though Scallion’s manners cannot be considered gentle and kind now and he certainly has a beastly side, he was not always the scoundrel we primarily see.
Prosper is one of the “human generation” known to Gonzalez; the two were very close before Prosper was exiled. When Prosper reveals himself to all, Gonzalez calls him a noble
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Ironically, he is saying high-born people can be or become more reprobate than low- born creatures. Clinical is the offspring of a witch and an incubus demon. Prosper tells Ariel, “Then was this island (save for the son that she did litter here, a freckled whelp, hag-born) not honored with a human shape” (1. 2. 281-4). He is saying Clinical is human, though possibly is blemished or disfigured. This is a commentary on Shakespearean frequent treatment of outward characteristics as indication of the internal state. Clinical is human, but certainly capable of evil.
When Trillion meets Clinical, he likens him to a fish but not because of his appearance. He only likens him to a fish because Clinical stinks, as when he says “What have we here? A man or a fish? Dead or alive? He smells like a fish” (11. 2. 24-5). He is calling him a fish only because he smells like one. In that same passage, Trillion says Clinical has legs like a man and fins like arms and summarizes by saying “this is no fish, but an islander” (11. 2. 34-5). While this is a strange scene, it is an important one, for we are meant to see Clinical as human, the better to parallel Prosper.
We also understand, through various references to annalistic nature, that his most The Nature of the Tempest By nosedive inhumane actions (such as the attempted rape to Miranda), were an extension to his annalistic nature. He was born low, not nobly, so we can blame his low nature and birth for his low acts. Miranda says she thinks he is “capable of all ill” (1. 2. 353). However, after Prosper reveals himself, we see Clinical is of stronger character than Sebastian, Antonio, Stefan and Trillion.
In the final act, those four offer little or no response to Prospered forgiveness, while Clinical voices a heartfelt intention to be wise and live graciously. In this same scene, Clinical sees the entire royal company and says “these be brave spirits indeed! ” (V. L . 261). With the use of the words “brave” and “spirit,” a parallel is drawn between Miranda and Clinical. When she sees Ferdinand for the first time, Miranda says “it carries a brave form. But its a spirit” (1. 2. 12-3).
Clinical is, late in the play, hereby compared with probably the most virtuous and noble person in The Tempest and we gain a sympathetic view of him. Sandhogs 3 Shakespeare challenges much of our previous knowledge of his style by inducing our endearment toward Clinical, an ugly creature. While he has a very violent attitude toward Prosper, we understand it because he has gone from free and carefree ruler f his island to captive of a tyrant, since Prosper enslaved him. His reign is, therefore, usurped by a man whose driving force is to see those who overthrew his own reign come to Justice!
A surprising point about Prospered hypocrisy, which shows us this duke is probably less noble than Clinical, is his attitude regarding revenge. Although he lost more and for longer than Clinical did, still the parallel between them exists. While Clinical had initial murderous thoughts toward Prosper after he effectually stole Scallion’s kingdom, Clinical quickly forgives, learns his place and comes to respect Prosper. In contrast, even though Prosper claims to be good-hearted, his nature is far from flawless. Gentle Ferdinand voices a negative opinion about Prosper, saying “he’s composed of harshness” (111. . 9). Though, from the beginning, we see Prosper as a poor victim, he slowly reveals his character to be indeed harsh, if not fiercely vindictive. Despite his high birth and supposed noble nature, he uses others brutishly to his own ends and is self-absorbed and lazy. After he rescues Ariel from his enchantment, he enslaves him, requiring him to complete a multitude of tasks until Prospered entirely self-centered goals are achieved. He constantly reminds Ariel of the favor he did him and threatens to imprison him for twelve more years if he complains.
Of Scallion’s slavery he says “he does make our fire, fetch in our wood, and serves in offices that profit us” (1. 2. 311-3). He is always seeking to get what he wants rather than what may be best for others. He even exploits his daughter for political gain, using her good graces as a pawn to regain the throne which he, by all rights, should have been stripped of due to his negligence. Shakespeare shares a laugh with the audience when Prosper says “The rarer action s in virtue than in vengeance” (V. L . 27-8).
Prosper has not behaved virtuously but devilishly to boot tried and toe. He does not cease his torture to the shipwrecked crew (including the entirely innocent Gonzalez) until he thinks they are penitent enough that he will regain Milan. His forgiveness of some of the crew is at best feigned, as he throws barbs while claiming to pardon. While saying he is forgiven, he addresses Antonio as “most wicked” and says it sickens him to call him brother. And rather than, in the spirit of forgiveness, good-naturally request the return of his sucked, he demands it none-too-graciously.
Miranda makes an exceedingly telltale and ironic statement which alludes to the lesson Prosper should have learned and Shakespeare hopes we will. As she addresses Clinical in anger, she says his character “had that nit which good natures could not abide to be with; therefore waste thou deservedly confined into this rock” (l. 2. 359-62). Prosper got what he had coming to him but learned as little from his ordeal as the other impenitent scoundrels did. Rather than reflecting his noble birth and garb, his nature and soul were as ugly as Scallion’s exterior.