Peer Review

Sarah Kick
ENGL 305
Dr Scheler
Friday February 5th, 2016
Power Shifts in The Tempest
In Shakespeare's play The Tempest, power is a coveted ideal in which characters are
willing to do anything to obtain. Focusing on two characters, Ferdinand and Prospero, and their
exchanges of power throughout the play, allows a vision of how coveted this power is. The
relationship between Prospero and Ferdinand is an interesting interpretation of how old power
can be overcome new power. Prospero has power over Ferdinand as Ferdinand first arrives on
the island, however as the play progresses, Prospero loses his power, while Ferdinand gains it.
The shift of power throughout The Tempest shows that power is not permanent and can be lost
just as easily as it can be gained.
Power shifts happen throughout the play, The Tempest, as shown by the relationship of
Ferdinand and Prospero. Prospero once had power as the Duke of Milan, however it was stolen
by his usurping brother. When Prospero and his daughter Miranda landed on a strange island, he
was soon powerless. He did not stay powerless for long as he found a friend in Caliban, in which
he the took advantage of. Prospero is not a character that is used to having little power, which is
shown throughout Ferdinand’s stay on the island, “Here in this island we arrived; and here Have
I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit” (1.2.171-172). Prospero gained power from Caliban
and soon was the most powerful of the island. He was the reason for the shipwreck in which
Ferdinand experienced. Ferdinand landed on an unknown island with strangers in which he was
Comment [Office1]: Main Point: Are you demonstrating the
original relationship? How does this pertain to “power is not
Ferdinand is the son of the King of Naples who has lost what is dear to him; his power in
which he has given to Prospero, Miranda and Ariel. Ferdinand is brought in by the song of Ariel,
“Thence I have followed it, Or it hath drawn me rather.” (1.2.397-398). Ferdinand had easily
given up his power, which is due to the enchantment of Ariel’s song that has been ordered by
Prospero. Prospero had led Ferdinand to Miranda with the intent of bettering Miranda’s life.
Comment [Office2]: Because it was due to an enchantment,
was it truly an easy choice for him or one that only looked
Miranda’s beauty encapsulates Ferdinand and causes him to lose his power, which is all
Comment [Office3]: Ariel gains power over Ferdinand but
is it really power? Prospero commanded Ariel to do so, does
that mean it is just another way for Prospero to have control?
according to Prospero’s plan. Ferdinand gives his power to Prospero when he falls into his plan
Comment [Office4]: How?
perfectly and gives up his rights as he becomes a slave to Prospero in order to win Miranda’s
hand. Ferdinand has also given up his power to Miranda by allowing an unknown woman
capture his affections so easily.
Prospero stole Ferdinand’s power of the title of Prince of Naples by enslaving him in
order to win his daughter’s affections. “One word more: I charge thee That thou attend me.”
Comment [Office5]: This relates to the middle of the
paragraph. Could it be used to expand on the power shift
between Miranda and Ferdinand?
Comment [Office6]: Who says this and what does it mean?
(1.2.456-457). Ferdinand tries to resist Prospero and fight for his name, however Prospero
overpowers him with magic which disables Ferdinand from fighting. As Ferdinand is enchanted
by Prospero’s power, he becomes his slave. This is, again, according to Prospero’s plan in order
for his daughter to have a better life which includes a male companion.
Even after Ferdinand had attempted to challenge Prospero, he still becomes a slave with
the hope of winning over Miranda. Prospero shows his power over Ferdinand by opposing his
relationship with Miranda. Ferdinand wants to prove himself and works even harder as a slave
for Prospero, which is all according to Prospero’s mastermind plan. Miranda offers to help
Ferdinand, but in hopes to prove himself, Ferdinand denies the help, “I had rather crack my
sinews, break my back, Than you should such dishonor undergo While I sit lazy by.” (3.1.2628).
Comment [Office7]: Is power easily lost due to love or
Comment [Office8]: How does opposing the relationship
give him power?
Comment [Office9]: Does this give Ferdinand power?
Prospero seemed to have stolen Ferdinand's power from him, however the ending of the
play seems to switch this notion. Prospero manipulates Ferdinand for most of the play in order to
try to allow his daughter to have a better life. However in the end of the play, Prospero gives up
his magic and essentially becomes powerless while Ferdinand seems to gain back his power. In
Comment [Office10]: Is this the claim, evidence, or
the epilogue, Prospero laments his loss of power, "Now that my charms are all o'erthrown, And
what strength I have's my own, Which is most faint." (epilogue.1-3). Prospero is powerless and
he knows his lack of power could be his untimely demise. Ferdinand believes that his father is
dead when he promises the marriage of Miranda, and gains his power when he stands up to his
father. Ferdinand is an honorable man and tells his father that he will marry Miranda. As
Comment [Office11]: Different claim. New paragraph?
Maybe add it to the next one to help centralize the idea?
Prospero's power dwindles, Ferdinand's power increases.
Ferdinand gains his power by obtaining Miranda’s affections. As Miranda’s affections
Comment [Office12]: Is he taking away from the power
Miranda has?
increase for Ferdinand, she is more willing to leave her father. Ferdinand can offer Miranda a life
of royalty in his home country of Naples. Her affections for Ferdinand are so strong that she is
willing to become his servant. “I am your wife, if you will marry me; If not, I’ll die your maid.
To be your fellow You may deny me, but I’ll be your servant” (3.2.83-85). As Miranda offers
herself fully to Ferdinand, he ultimately has control over her while her father is slowly losing
control over Miranda.
In The Tempest, Prospero has ultimate power on the island before the shipwreck occurs,
however according to Prospero’s plan, the ship wrecks and Miranda finds love. While Prospero
loses his power, Ferdinand gains his power on the island by claiming Miranda’s affections and
Comment [Office13]: If this is going to be a minor claim,
could it be worked in more? It seems to focus on the fact that
the power shift occurs because Prospero wants Miranda to
find love.
standing up to his father. Prospero gives up his magic willingly, and yet loses power over his
daughter in which Ferdinand gains. The shift of power from Prospero to Ferdinand indicates that
power is not permanent, and also sheds light to the idea that new power can over take old power.
Comment [Office14]: Include Miranda and Ariel. You
discussed how they gained and lost power in your essay but
excluded them from your final claim.