Essay on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

William Shakespeare’s The TempestLove, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a “strong affection”, a “warm attraction”, an “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern” for another. It is “to feel a passion, devotion, or tenderness” for another. Love is simple and yet so utterly complex. Love is that which has the power to build you up and when taken away has the potential to knock you down. The Tempest by William Shakespeare is a political play with a love story woven throughout it. This tale of passion is one that is presented through Prospero’s daughter Miranda and Alonso’s son Ferdinand. Miranda and Ferdinand set themselves up for what they believe to be a life of bliss, but is it merely a spell cast upon them by Prospero, is he simply playing the puppet master in this new found devotion? Or is it a smattering of lust provided by Miranda’s lack of exposure to the outside world which is being misconstrued as a state of pristine love?

Through the years, critics have provided countless different outlooks on this liaison; yet while Miranda and Ferdinand’s underlying motives remain a mystery to many, this will be yet another attitude towards the bond in question to aid in the quest for a resolution to the query. Is it really true love? Before reaching for a solution however, analyses of the characters of Miranda and Ferdinand are in order.

Miranda is presented to the audience in Act 1, Scene 2; from the very beginning, she proves to be a woman full of sympathy and compassion. “O, thy cry did knock against my very heart!” (1.2.8-9). She is distraught when she finds the storm provoking and threatening the ship at sea. She pleads with her father Prospero to end the torturous beating the ship is taking. “If by y…

…kespeare Survey. Vol 53. Cambridge: University Press Cambridge, 2000.

McBride, Phyllis. “In Her Father’s Library: Margaret Fuller and the Making of the American Miranda.” Shakespeare Survey. Vol 53. Cambridge: University Press Cambridge, 2000.

Mish, Fredrick C., ed. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1994.

Miller, Naomi J. ed., Reimagining Shakespeare for Children and Young Adults. New York: Routledge, 2003.

New American Bible. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. DC: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., 1991.

Slights, Jessica. “Rape and the Romanticization of Shakespeare’s Miranda.” SEL: Studies in English Literature (John Hopkins) 41.2 (2001): 357-380. EBSCOhost. UWSP Library. 05 Dec. 2005.

Smith, Hallett, ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Tempest. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc, 1969.