Shakespeare’s Tempest Characters Analysis

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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“The Tempest was one of many Shakespearean plays written in the 15th century. One of the characters in the play is Antonio who is the current Duke of Milan and brother to Prospero. When Shakespeare introduces Antonio through the eyes of Prospero, it’s very clear that Antonio showcases his greed. In the play, the actions of Antonio display avarice as he drives Prospero out of his dukedom to take it under his throne. An example of his greediness is when Antonio persuades Sebastian to kill King Alonso and be the new king of Naples.

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In this specific quote, Shakespeare uses many rhetorical strategies to represent Antonio’s character in the play. He uses diction, selection of details and figurative language.

One way Shakespeare displays Antonio’s character is through diction. For example, the word “worthy” in the line, “Worthy Sebastian? O, what might?–No more”. Using the word “worthy” in this line is the first step of persuasion that Antonio uses on Sebastian. This word has a lot of meaning as Antonio uses it to give Sebastian a vote of confidence. This word is used to make Sebastian feel comfortable and also special. This may have also been said as a way of preparing Sebastian for what he will say next. The way that Antonio words his speech showcases his sly behavior as he is maneuvering Sebastian into being his puppet and almost controlling the mind of Sebastian. Another example is the line of, “My strong imagination sees a crown

Dropping upon thy head”. The words “strong imagination” is used by Antonio to give a sight of the future to Sebastian of what the world might be if he is King.. In addition it also intrigues the audience, as they will want to also find out what Antonio means. These phrases and specific word choice are examples of how Antonio uses diction to persuade Sebastian.

Another rhetorical strategy in Antonios speech are literary devices. Antonio uses figurative language to effectively bring out his point. For example, when Antonio says, “ Thou let’st thy fortune sleep, die rather,” this is a form of personification. With the claim that fortunes sleep, Antonio is giving it a human quality. This is perhaps used to make Sebastian feel emotionally attached to the fortune that could be his. Antonio also hints at the importance of Sebastian’s actions, “Die rather;” What this implies is that Antonio wants Sebastian to rather die than lose his opportunity.”

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Shakespeare's Tempest Characters Analysis. (2021, Apr 14). Retrieved from