The Theme of Betrayal in the Tempest

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
Read Summary
Cite this
Category: Literature
Date added
Pages:  8
Words:  2281
Order Original Essay

How it works

The Theme of Betrayal in the Tempest essay

“The theme of betrayal in the play (The Tempest), is portrayed in different scenes of the play in which some characters broke the trust put in them. In Acts 1 Scene 2 of the play, a course of betrayal was effected between two brothers, Prospero who was the merited Duke of Milan, and Antonio his brother, who arrogated his brother’s throne as the Duke of Milan, after being trusted by his brother to oversee the administration of Milan. The course of events was shifted to an uninhabited island, where Prospero (the usurped Duke) and his daughter, Miranda are encountered. Following the sequential arrangements of the events in the play, Prospero is the “”rightful Duke of Milan, whose throne was arrogated by his brother Antonio.

Seeing the ship sinking, Miranda inquires to know whether her father is the one who engenders the tempest, thereby revealing the actuality that Prospero has powerful magic, which both of them describes as “”art.”” Prospero didn’t repudiate bringing about the tempest as his action, but rather says there was no harm effected. He guarantees his daughter that every single person on the vessel will be safe and free from danger , and that he solely did it for her to have the knowledge that lies behind their occupancy of the island as their home.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

Prospero enunciates the tempest is a suitable event for him to disclose their family’s piece of information which is hidden to her, which he’s frequently started telling her but unable to get through with, and he gives her his word to complete it this time.

Prospero inquires if Miranda remembers a period before they came to the island, and she replies she does. This astonishes Prospero, because Miranda was only three years of age then, but she clearly recalls that she used to have four or five women attending to and watching over her until they were forced to leave Milan in the middle of the night. Miranda doesn’t recollect how she and her father came to the island, so Prospero narrates the lengthy story to her, which is narrated thus :
Some twelve years ago, Prospero was the Duke of Milan and Miranda was a princess. Hearing this news surprises Miranda, which tempts her to interrogate Prospero whether he is not actually her biological father. Prospero responds to her that to the best of his knowledge, he (Prospero) was the exclusive person with which Miranda’s mother was sleeping. Therefore , Prospero was a Duke and Miranda a princess. Still baffled, Miranda inquires to know whether it’s a blessing or misfortune that has brought them to the island, and Prospero replies her it’s both.

According to the story, Prospero has a brother, Antonio, whom he used to cherish and believe . Prospero was devoted learning magic, thereby entrusting his brother (Antonio) with the administration of state while Prospero enclosed himself in his library with the study of magic.

Antonio, meanwhile in the course of running the dukedom , was occupied with learning how to administer Milan. Ultimately , he (Antonio) exploited the trust put in him by Prospero and, by bootlicking continually with gifts and respectful remarks to the King of Naples (Alonso), Antonio applies maneuvering tactics to make the King bestow on him his brother’s title as the Duke of Milan. Antonio then sent an army at midnight, to coercively drive Prospero and baby Miranda out of Milan. They weren’t killed because Prospero was so much treasured by his people. Prospero and baby Miranda were sent off to the sea on a ship.

While on their shaky boat, Prospero and Miranda faced a terrible storm. Miranda, far from being troubled, gave Prospero the energy and determination to keep up with the journey on the wobbling ship. Eventually, they came ashore onto their present island. They were able to make it through because Gonzalo (a friend of Prospero) was so considerate and kind that before leaving them, he provided for them food and water, fine clothes, and also Prospero’s books. Prospero was able to make use of his small library to educate and train Miranda for the whole twelve years, providing her a better education than most princesses who typically expend their leisure gazing through the windows.

Ultimately, Prospero expounds the rationale for creating the tempest by saying his adversaries , the ones that banished him years ago, are on the ship. Prospero then soothes Miranda to sleep with magic art and summons his spirit servant, Ariel, so they can continue with their work right away.

In the play, Ariel (The chief spirit) was entrusted with the points of the tempest. He carried out his duties to the very last point in which he appeared on the ship as fire, jumping between cabins and the deck. This, for understandable reasons , bewildered everyone on the ship, and while the seafarers stayed on deck, everyone else jumped over the side of the ship into the water . Ariel then made sure that everyone made it ashore harmlessly, but in disjointed groups. Most importantly, the King’s son (Ferdinand) was separated from the rest of the group. Ariel left the sailors on their newly restored ship in a magic spelled sleep, and sent the other vessels in the fleet back to Naples.

Prospero is happy about Ariel’s satisfactory work, but requests that there is much more to do in the next four hours to come. Ariel reminds him then that he’s already done lots of good work, and that Prospero should take cognisance of his promise that when his work is done, he will set the spirit-servant free.

Here, Prospero becomes mad at Ariel. He tells Ariel that he once rescued him from a witch called Sycorax, and as a result, Ariel should be indebted to him for the rest of his life.

Prospero therefore tells a story in which Sycorax, a terrible witch born in Algiers was banished from there because she had an affair with the Devil himself. It’s discovered that the pregnant Sycorax was banished to this same island, where she gave birth to Caliban and made Ariel her servant. Yet, due to the reason that Ariel was too “”airy “” to do the horrendous bidding she instructed, Sycorax had frustrations and incarcerated Ariel in the cleft of a pine tree, where he stayed until the arrival of Prospero on the island.

Twelve years after Sycorax’s death and Prospero came to the island, he’s met with the ringing , melancholic, and uncanny groans of Ariel coming from a tree. Following his release of the Spirit from its bondage, Prospero committed Ariel to his service, with the promise of eventual liberty.
After Prospero narrates this lengthy story, he reproves Ariel that any more caterwaul will get him locked back into the tree. However, if Ariel behaves, Prospero will free him in two days once all the work is done.

Similarly, another event portraying betrayal occurs on the island between Caliban and Prospero. Previously, Prospero had taken Caliban under his care, taught him to speak, and fed him. In quid pro quo, Caliban had shown him all the strategems and riches of the island. Sadly, the friendly relationship ended when Caliban tried to rape Miranda, with the intention of populating the island with little Calibandas. This is an act of betrayal from Caliban by trying to rape his master’s daughter to satisfy his own selfish interest of procreation. Prospero then confined Caliban to enslavement at an abode near a rock outside of Prospero’s domicile. Caliban detests being a slave, but Prospero is powerful and likes to torture Caliban with terrible body cramps for misdeeds and protests.

In Act 2, Scene 1, Antonio portrays his act of betrayal in his conversation with Sebastian. In their treacherous conversation , Sebastian discusses how Antonio manages to usurp his brother (Prospero) from his rightful throne, and Antonio gives his reply to Sebastian by telling him to take a look at how majestic and classy his (Antonio) garments sit on him in a more elegant way compared to before. Antonio discusses how his brother’s retainers, who once were his peers, now work as men under his command.

In Act 2, Scene 2 of the play, Caliban makes a promise never to serve Prospero any longer which shows his act of betrayal. On another part of the island, a scene occurs among Trinculo, a jester, Stephano, a butler, and Caliban. At first Caliban hides from Trinculo, fearing he will torture him. For his part, Trinculo cannot tell if Caliban is a fish or a man, but resolves to taking shelter in Caliban’s attires because he fears a storm is coming. Finally, Trinculo and Stephano see each other, and Caliban is so moved with Stephano’s “celestial liquor” to the point that he states that he will be his subject. Caliban vows to show Stephano all the fine and cool spots of the island and to give him food and drink; he promises he will no longer serve Prospero.

In Act 3 Scene 2 of the play, another event showcasing betrayal is seen. Caliban, being with Trinculo and Stephano, had become pretty drunk. Stephano gives his word that Caliban will be lieutenant on his island, and Caliban promises to lick Stephano’s shoe.

From there, Trinculo and Caliban get into a little misunderstanding, and Caliban requests that Stephano should shield him against Trinculo. Caliban then reminds his two new friends of what he had told them earlier, saying he has been under the subjugation of the tyrant sorcerer Prospero, who has unlawfully make away with the island from him. Meanwhile, the invisible Ariel has entered, and softly utters things like “”thou liest!”” Seeing no one, Caliban and Stephano think Trinculo is the one that makes the utterance, thereby beating him up.

Caliban directs Stephano of what must be done to murder Prospero and gain power over the island. Caliban will lead Triculo and Stephano to Prospero’s favorite afternoon nap location . If they steal his books, Prospero will become powerless, and then they can murder him.

Caliban promises that all the pretty linens and things in Prospero’s house will belong to Triculo and Stephano, and above all, Stephano can have the beautiful Miranda, who will “”become thy bed and bring thee forth brave brood”” after murdering her father.

As they get ready to find and murder Prospero, Ariel enters playing a tune.Trinculo and Stephano become frightened by the song that comes from nowhere, and started asking for forgiveness from Heaven.
Caliban comforts them that the island is full of sonorous and euhponious noises, and gives one of the most beautiful speeches in the play, speaking of wonder and dreams . All of them agree to track the song, which they hope will lead them to Prospero, so they can launch their plan of attack.

In Act 3 Scene 3, a similar occurrence portraying betrayal is seen. Antonio, Gonzalo, and their attendant lords are located somewhere else on the island. Antonio holds on hope that his child might still be alive. When he hears this he begins to conduct a plan. He will secretly enter the room of the king and kill him while he sleeps. Before the eyes of the King and shipwrecked lords, a magical banquet is presented by welcoming spirits who invite the King and his guests to eat. All wonder at the eccentric sight for a while, thinking they could now believe anything.

Before they could start eating, , Ariel shows up as a vixen and says that the men are not worthy of Destiny. The men bring their swords out and the vixen laughs at their witlessness as their swords are good for nothing against the natural elements she wields. The vixen reminds them of the evil they did to Prospero and baby Miranda and asserts that the sea has remunerated them back for their cruel actions, taking Ferdinand and dooming the rest of them. If they regret their villainy deeds, a better life might follow. Ariel (as the vixen ) then vanishes, and the spirits come once more to carry away the banquet table. Prospero commends Ariel for his satisfactory work, which he has seen while invisible.

Gonzalo suspends the surprised quiet atmosphere when he asks what Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian are looking so stunned about. King Alonso acknowledges that the sea and thunder have spoken to him of his evil actions against Prospero and has claimed his son as the penalty for his traitorous deeds. Sebastian and Antonio are unmoved. Instead of repenting and being remorseful, they concur to combat the ills that might face them once and for all. Antonio becomes delighted in the fact that Alonso has given up hope that his son might still be alive.

As the trio leave, Gonzalo notes that Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian’s treachery against Prospero is catching up to them. The kind councilor tells the rest of the group to go after the three traitors and prevent them from whatever foolishness they might attempt in their shocked post-harpy encounter state of mind.

In Act 4, Scene 1, the treacherous intention of Caliban in colluding with Stephano and Triculo to kill Prospero is shown. Prospero concurs to the marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand. Prospero confirms that the feelings and love is indeed true. They sing and dance to festive music to celebrate the event. Meanwhile Ariel’s music has led the three of them through a labyrinth of briers and mud. Stephano and Trinculo are nauseated and mad at Caliban who still implores them to kill Prospero. But when they get to Prospero’s home, the men are distracted when they see opulent attires hanging on a line. They start to fight over the garments and coerce Caliban to carry what they have appropriated to themselves. Suddenly spirits in the form of dogs pounce upon them.”

The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay

Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

The Theme of Betrayal in the Tempest. (2021, Apr 14). Retrieved from