Themes of The Tempest

The theme refers to an extending thought, belief, or point of view presented in a literary work. The themes in The Tempest including themes of betrayal, compassion, and love present the issue of freedom and confinement. The major themes of the greatest play of William Shakespeare entitled “The Tempest” are analyzed below.

The infatuation of justice

Prospero who was once the duke of Milan is expelled from his own dukedom when his elder brother rises against him and usurps his powers. The entire play is about Prospero’s conspiracy on restoring his powers from Alonso. This emphasizes that justice will be done if Prospero gets back his throne.

The superiority of the human being

The play revolves around a happy ending and a certain display of human superiority. When Prospero and his daughter Miranda were stranded on the island, they lived there for about twelve years. Yet, they know how to use other humans and animals for their benefit. Ariel, a spirit, and Caliban, a half animal and half human being in body structure, are enslaved by Prospero, and Miranda speaks to Caliban although Caliban tries to attack her. Though Ariel is faithful, Prospero does not trust him. He believes he should keep Ariel until he finds a way to escape or leave the island.


Prospero uses magic to protect himself and Miranda. He controls the spirits like Ariel and the half-witch Caliban. The tempest and throwing of the ship during the storm show the power of magic. But Prospero finally learns to forgive and releases Ariel from his magical power.

Revenge and forgiveness

At first, Prospero was shown reigning on an island, enslaving Ariel and Caliban. He learns magic from books to take proper revenge on enemies. He is determined to take the rightful place of the Duke who was ousted by his brother. This revenge takes him far away because he exploits Caliban, the son of Sprite named Sycorax, and Ariel. Prospero manages to avenge and eventually forgives his brother.

The power of language

Most of the characters in the play use the power of language to grab power or manipulate. Prospero is tall among other characters because he uses superior language. He is good at talking because he reads books. Through his intellect and words, he uses Ariel for his higher purposes. This becomes even clearer in the case of Caliban, who not only learns the language from Prospero but also tries to use it against Prospero. When Prospero and Caliban fight for power using language, their speeches become rhythmic. Caliban tells Prospero that others hate him for his language skills.


When Prospero and his daughter Miranda landed on the island after being deported, Caliban and Ariel were the original inhabitants. However, Prospero uses his power and knowledge to demonstrate his superiority over the original inhabitants. Because of this colonization, Ariel mourns for the loss of his independence, and Caliban curses Prospero and even tries to rape Miranda. Ariel and Caliban consider Prospero and his daughter as settlers who have colonized their land. Prospero does think that Caliban is not fit to rule his island. Caliban also conspires to expel Prospero from his country. Thus, Shakespeare can be considered the father of introducing colonization in literature though Conrad and Dickens are considered the powerful writer in perpetuating colonization.

Click Here: For the Notes of Drama

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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