Smith's lecture was Coleridge's famous essay on The Tempest.

Through The Tempest's Prospero, we get to glimpse what it must be like to be Shakespeare: the lonely, fallible, tired, cranky man William himself was. This isn't just juicy insight into one of the world's most famous writers. It's also deeply humanizing and will give you shivers of insignificance even as it makes you feel warm n' fuzzy inside: we really are just… humans. Humans who sometimes just need a vacay.

William Shakespeare's last play The Tempest is a story about Prospero (the rightful duke of Milan).

Prospero, now invisible, watches Ferdinand and Miranda expressing their deep love for one another in words that rival in their tenderness. Ferdinand, realising he is witnessing a truly rare meeting of hearts, approves of Ferdinand for his daughter. Ferdinand decides to marry Miranda. Bottle in hand, Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban continue on their merry way, Stephano getting delusions of grandeur from Caliban blindly following him. Caliban suggests several gruesome ways of killing Prospero. Ariel lures the group away with music... Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Adrian and Francisco and others witness a banquet on the island but it is an illusion... Ariel returns and scolds Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian for their roles in exiling Prospero... Prospero tells Ferdinand that he will no longer punish him, instead offering his daughter's hand in marriage to him. Prospero conjures up a mythical, illusory party to celebrate, complete with goddesses and nymphs. Prospero instructs Ariel to bring the shipwrecked men before him.


Shakespeare's The Tempest at Absolute Shakespeare

Prospero uses the study of magic to disillusion the other characters brought to the island by way of the tempest.

When Prospero (after giving up the art of magic he's spent a lifetime perfecting) appears alone before the audience he confesses, "Now my charms are all o'erthrown, / And what strength I have's mine own," we can't help but wonder if Shakespeare is speaking through this character here.


The tempest prospero essay about myself

But, although the other excellences of the drama besides this dramatic probability, as unity of interest, with distinctness and subordination of the characters, and appropriateness of style, are all, so far as they tend to increase the inward excitement, means towards accomplishing the chief end, that of producing and supporting this willing illusion,—yet they do not on that account cease to be ends themselves; and we must remember that, as such, they carry their own justification with them, as long as they do not contravene or interrupt the total illusion. It is not even always, or of necessity, an objection to them, that they prevent the illusion from rising to as great a height as it might otherwise have attained;—it is enough that they are simply compatible with as high a degree of it as is requisite for the purpose. Nay, upon particular occasions, a palpable improbability may be hazarded by a great genius for the express purpose of keeping down the interest of a merely instrumental scene, which would otherwise make too great an impression for the harmony of the entire illusion. Had the panorama been invented in the time of Pope Leo X., Raffael would still, I doubt not, have smiled in contempt at the regret, that the broomtwigs and scrubby bushes at the back of some of his grand pictures were not as probable trees as those in the exhibition.

HSC Area of Study: Shakespeare's The Tempest Analysis

Okay, fine. We're not arguing that Prospero has some serious issues. Still, we do want to point out a couple of things. Although Prospero does everything in his power to confront his enemies, he's no . (Instead of baking his enemies into a pie, for example, he just terrifies them a little bit while trying to teach them a lesson.) More importantly, instead of seeking the kind of blood-and-guts vengeance that could have turned The Tempest into a "tragedy," Prospero ultimately discovers that the capacity for mercy and forgiveness is what makes us human.

HSC Area of Study: Shakespeare The Tempest ..

But not everyone thinks of Prospero as a stand-in for Will Shakespeare. In fact, He's taken Caliban's island in return for his own lost title, he manipulates his daughter, is cruel to Ferdinand and Caliban, and kind to Ariel only when the spirit is totally subservient. He also puts his enemies through all kinds of hell to gather them up so he can judge them.