Question: Do you agree with the view that regeneration, forgiveness, and reconciliation are the major theme of The Tempest? Or, Comment on the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation in The Tempest. Forgiveness and reconciliation in The Tempest.
Every Shakespearean play presents a view of life. As a typical Shakespearean play, The Tempest also illustrates a philosophy of life. The play has two major themes: one is the pursuit of power and its consequences, and the other is regeneration, forgiveness, and reconciliation but the second one seems to be more important to us.
Destruction of belief
For regeneration or forgiveness, the destruction of faith is a must. As a master of creating twists and suspense, Shakespeare has scattered this in the plot of the play extraordinarily. Antonio, the younger brother of Prospero, ousted Prospero from power. He also pushed Prospero and his daughter Miranda towards the danger of the sea in the hope that they both would perish. Fortunately, Prospero and his daughter survived and landed on an uninhabited island and started living there.
Without conflict of heart, nobody can taste the taste of regeneration and forgiveness. Prospero, in course of a few years, has been able to acquire vast supernatural power. He is now the master of the island and of a large number of spirits of the air, water, earth, and fire. Of air, Ariel serves him in various ways. Prospero through Ariel causes a storm on the sea at the time when King Alonso, accompanied by Antonio, Ferdinand, and other important people is voyaging upon the Mediterranean sea. Ariel manages to bring all the people to the island of Prospero and at the same time separates Ferdinand from the rest of King Alonso’s party so that Alonso thinks that Ferdinand had perished in the sea, while Ferdinand thinks that he is the only survivor of the shipwreck occurred during the storm.
Suffering has the power to create a sense of noble within human beings that is why the playwright adds numerous sufferings for the sinners. Prospero humorously and cruelly deals with his three enemies namely Antonio Alonso and Sebastian. Just when Alonso is about to start feeling better on the island, Ariel appears in the shape of a harpy. The harpy administers rebuke to the three men reminding them of the grave crime which they committed against Prospero and his daughter Miranda. They are told that the only way to obtain any relief is through the feeling of repentance over their past crime and through a resolve to lead a sinless life in the future. As the harpy disappears, the sinners feel stunned and seem to have lost their wits.
Prospero’s first step in the direction of forgiveness is seen in his acceptance of Ferdinand as his son-in-law. Ferdinand and Miranda fall in love with each other. Prospero arranges things in such a way that Ferdinand becomes a suitor for Prospero’s daughter, though Ferdinand is the son of that man who had done a severe wrong to Prospero.
Creating situation for better lesson
Prospero is informed of the distress of the sinners. He assures Ariel that he has no intention to make those men suffer from physical or mental torture beyond a certain point. He says that his main purpose is to make them realize the gravity and the enormity of the offense that they committed against him and his daughter. Thus, Prospero creates such a situation for the sinners so that they can feel loneliness and insecurity. He then orders Ariel to bring Alonso and others to him. A full reconciliation takes place between Prospero and his enemies after he had made a long speech reminding all the sinners of their past crime and then declaring his forgiveness for them. He then turns to his brother Antonio and says that he had become so ambitious that he had done a great injury to him and Miranda. He told Antonio. “I do forgive thee, Unnatural though thou art”. Prospero then tums to Gonzalo and embraces him also, saying that Gonzalo is a noble friend whose honor cannot be measured because it is boundless. Prospero embraces Alonso and welcomes his companions a heartily to the island. Alonso then informs Prospero that his dukedom would be restored to him as desired by Prospero.
Resolving all twists and tensions
After a few moments, Prospero shows Alonso and others the pleasing sight of Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess. On seeing his son, Alonso at first thinks that he sees something new, which does not really exist. When he becomes sure that Ferdinand is alive he feels infinitely delighted. Alonso feels even more delighted on learning that the girl with whom Ferdinand was playing chess is Prospero’s daughter and that she is ready to marry Ferdinand with her father’s full consent. Alonso now asks Miranda to pardon him for the manner in which he had treated her when she was only five years old. He then joins the hands of Miranda and Ferdinand and wishes all joy and happiness to them. In this way, a complete reconciliation comes between Prospero and Alonso.
So from the above discussion, now it is clear to us that the major themes of The Tempest are regeneration, forgiveness, and reconciliation.