The ideas of patriarchal and gender power are illustrated extensively in Shakespearean ‘The Tempest’ through the relationships portrayed in the play, and the plays symbolic depiction of colonialism. First and foremost, ‘The Tempest’ was written in the Jacobean period – a period where society was still most strongly patriarchal. This can be seen as the Tempest’ is set in a completely patriarchal society; where all positions of power are held by males. In fact, ‘The Tempest’ has only one visible female character, Miranda, whilst other women, such as Scallion’s mother Scoria, Marinara’s mother, and Alonso daughter Clerical, are only mentioned.
Miranda is typically viewed as being completely deprived of freedom by her father, her only duty in his eyes being to remain chaste. The less-prominent women of the play are also seen as inferior, as they are only described through the men of the play. For example, most of what is known about Scoria is told through Prosper. The women of the play are never responsible for moving the action forward, but serve only as a ground upon which the action moves forward.
The relationship between Prosper and Miranda strongly depicts the ideas of patriarchal and gender power. At first, when Prosper tells Miranda of his exile from Italy, it is her passionate youth that the reader sees in her exclamations of concern, “O the heavens! ” and “Alack, for pity! ” (Act l, scene it). This scene shows the audience how tender, yet astonishingly one-sided the relationship between Prosper and Miranda is, as although Prosper has lived alone with his daughter for twelve years, he has not told her why they live alone on the island.
Miranda plays a role of only social value as company to her father as he has complete control over what she sees and hears through the use of his ‘Art’, further defining the manipulative nature of this father-daughter relationship. When Miranda appears in Act V, scene I, she appears only after being revealed behind a curtain by her father. Her final lines, “O brave new world / That has such people mint” (Act V. Scene I) while superbly hopeful, are also straightforwardly ironic. The isolation her life forced upon her has made her mistake a cast of males, which the audience knows only too well to be deeply flawed, for ‘brave’.
In Shakespearean day, most of the planet was still being ‘discovered’, and stories were coming back from distant islands, with myths about the Cannibals of the Caribbean, faraway Dens, and distant tropical Utopias. With the character Clinical, Shakespeare may be offering an in-depth analysis into the morality of colonialism. Different views of the morality of colonialism are also discussed through events such as Gonzales Utopia, Prosperous enslavement of Clinical, and Scallion’s following resentment.
How is Patriarchal and Gender Power shown in Shakespearean ‘The Tempest’? By compliments The idea to colonization is extremely patriarchal as it was the believed that a colony needed a patriarch in order to survive. Without someone in charge, it was believed that the ‘savages’ would become uncontrollable, and the settlers would be wandering round blindly. These attitudes led to paternalism towards the original owners of the land, meaning that the colonists would take ‘fatherly’ control of these people who they believed to be unable to act for themselves.
This is exemplified in ‘The Tempest’ as the nearly uninhabited island presents the sense of infinite possibility to almost everyone who lands there. The tone of the play, however, does not support the beliefs of the would-be colonizers. Gonzales utopian vision in Act II, scene I is belittled by a sharp retort from Sebastian and Antonio. When Gonzalez says that there would be no commerce or work r “sovereignty” in his society, Sebastian replies, “yet he would be king onto,” and Antonio adds, “The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning” (Act II, scene I).
Gonzales fantasy thus involves him ruling the island whilst not seeming to rule it, and in this he becomes a kind of parody of Prosper. Gonzalez first openly asserts this vision of a perfect society while meandering with his comrades on the sandy beach of an uninhabited, distant isle. Prosperous own notion on how a society should be set up and governed is evidenced most clearly through his current rule veer the island he had arrived on long before.
Thus, Gonzales ideas on how best to govern an island relate directly in some form to Prosperous existing reign, further illustrating Gonzalez as being a parody of Prosper. Whilst there are many representatives of the colonial impulse in the play, the colonized have only one representative: Clinical, whose name is widely accepted as an anagram of ‘cannibal’. However, Clinical is not a cannibal at all as he barely touches meat, confining himself more delicately to roots, berries and an occasional fish. His name seems more like a mockery of stereotypes than a mark of monstrosity.
The audience may develop sympathy for him at first as Prosper seeks him out merely to abuse him, and as he is tormented by spirits. However, this sympathy is made more difficult by his willingness to degrade himself before Stefan in Act II, scene I’. Even as Clinical plots to kill one colonial master – Prosper – in Act Ill, scene it, he sets up another – Stefan. Thus, the relationships portrayed in Shakespearean ‘The Tempest’ and the plays allusions to colonialism illustrate the ideas of patriarchal and gender power extensively. Bibliography:’The Tempest’ – by William Shakespeare.
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