Miranda- The Tempest


A03 Critics Quotes

  • Miranda is Prospero's daughter and only child, leaving Milan as a baby after her father's exile.
  • She is isolated from the outside world by Prospero, the only other people she's ever met are Ariel and Caliban until the shipwreck. She has never left the island.
  • Miranda means ''to be admired''- reflected by her childlike wonder and ability to see beauty in everything.
  • She is engaged to Ferdinand at 15 years old and will become queen of Naples.
  • Miranda is a subjugated ingenue- an unsophisticated innocent.
  • Key description words: naiive, childish, dreamer, idealist, submissive, innocent.
  • ANN THOMSON: ''Miranda has internalised the patriarchal assumption that a woman's main function is to provide a legitimate succession.''
  • DAVID SUNDELSON: ''Prospero surrenders to Ferdinand the pleasure of possessing Miranda''
  • LORIE LEINIGER: ''Miranda is an allegory for 'softer' colonialism''
  • DAVID LINDLEY: ''Ferdinand and Miranda are a revised, antithetical version of Virgil's Dido and Aeneas''
  • NANCY MECKLER: ''Miranda is the catalyst of the story- had it remained possible to stay in a child's body forever, the tempest would have been unnecessary''
  • DAVID LINDLEY: ''Miranda raises the question as to how magic power can and should legitimately be used''
  • LORIE LEINIGER: ''Prospero uses Miranda as an unwitting player in his political revenge''

Key Quotes

A04 Context

  • ''How beauteous mankind is! O Brave new world, that has such creatures in't'': this portrays Miranda's naiivety, awe and wonder at the world- her isolation from the rest of humanity has led her to be ignorant of who humans are and what they are truly like.
  • ''Good wombs have borne bad sons'': this conveys how Prospero has ingrained the patriarchal view of the 17th century into Miranda- women are identified by their ability to bear children and procreation seems to be their sole purpose.
  • ''By my modesty, the jewel in my dower'': Miranda suggests that her virginity is the greatest gift she can offer Ferdinand, again offering an insight into the patriarchal society that she lived in- she is seen as pure and acceptable to be married because she is chaste and that is more important than any mercenary value she might have.
  • ''I pitied thee, I took pains to make thee speak'': Highlights her forgiving and wholly kind nature- she is far more tolerant of difference than Prospero, who sought to dominate Caliban.
  • ''I have suffered with those I saw suffer'': shows her compassionate nature and sympathy for those she thinks have died- the antithesis of Prospero who is inflicting the suffering.
  • ''I dare not offer what I desire to give'': Shows Miranda's love and lust for Ferdinand, but in the 17th century it was not seen appropriate for women to show or even have sexual desire. Shakespeare disguises Miranda's passion carefully, but the very mention of it suggests that the play is covering new ground in women's relationships with men.
  • ''Had I been any god of power, I should've sunk the sea'': Prospero has this power to stop the shipwreck, and the revelation that Miranda has no power shows that Prospero has not passed on his magic to her, or could convey her lower status in society as she is a woman.
  • ''Mine unworthiness'' ''What trouble was I then to you'': Both quotes reinforce Miranda's conception that she is a burden to men, and not good enough to be in their society or worth their time.
  • Shakespeare seems to present through Miranda the missionary side of colonisation in the 17th century- she educates Caliban in language and the ''Western way of life''. Although she is still seen as his superior, this passive way of domination seems kinder than Prospero's enslavement of Caliban.
  • Miranda is the only female character in the play that Shakespeare allows a voice and character development (the only other women being Claribel and Sycorax, who we never meet). Her presentation as a weak, submissive, virginal young girl embodies how women were seen and treated
  • Miranda is presented as a male possession- she is first Prospero's, and then passed on to Ferdinand in marriage. This suggests that women were seen as property, objects, goods that could be traded for male benefit.
  • Parallels with ''Dido and Aeneas'' by Virgil-a story of two lovers under the rule of a sorceress who plans to overthrow Carthage and its queen. However, Miranda does not reject Ferdinand and does not die from heartbreak/rejection, showing her stronger character in one aspect, but also her weakness at her inability to be detached and unreliant on men. Quotes that relate to this are "even the murkiest den will not tempt me"




Have you got more of this on other characters? 

Manon Burbidge


http://getrevising.co.uk/grids/prospero_character_analysis :)

Manon Burbidge