"Though the seas threaten, they are merciful"- justice and forgiveness in The Tempest

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  • Justice and Forgiveness
    • Prospero's unjust exile- presentation of himself as a victim
      • "He was/The ivy wich had hid my princeley trunk"- self as the strong tree and Antonio as a parasite, superficial
      • Repetition of "false"- "My false brother", "a falsehood" "thy false uncle"
      • Images of music- Antonio "set all hearts i'th'state/To whatever tune pleased his ear." Later music is again a powerful force- signifies change and transformation bad and good
      • "Poor man" "My trust/Like a good parent"
    • Prospero's forgiveness of his brother
      • Does he mean it? One actor claimed that "Prospero clearly says [that he forgives Antonio] through clenched teeth."
      • Like Caliban, Prospero claims Antonio is "unnatural"
        • And like Caliban, Antonio and Sebastian suffer "inward pinches"
      • Antonio and Sebastian do not repent after Prospero forgives them. Their last lines concern making a profit out of Caliban- same distain for the island as when they arrived
    • Ariel prompts Prospero to forgive through his compassion for the courtiers- "If you now beheld them, your affections/Would become tender."
    • Only Alonso repents and asks for forgiveness- this is largely done through music- "The winds did sing it to me.....It did bass my trespass."
      • Gonzalo has a slightly overoptimistic view of the justice they get- he claims "All three of them are desperate [for forgiveness]"and at the end states that "all of us [found] ourselves" on the island
    • The play can be read in a Christian way to suggest that those who sin must undergo a period of penance and suffering- "you are three men of sin"
    • The island is the ideal setting to explore justice and forgiveness- Caliban claims that it has both a fertile side and an inhospitable one- "the barren place and fertile". Different characters perceive and experience the island in different ways- those who must repent such as Antonio and Sebastian believe it is inhospitable and barren whil noble characters such as Ferdinand and Gonzalo call it "paradise"


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