Analyzing the Text
Prospero is replaced as Duke of Milan by his brother. Prospero, “neglecting worldly ends” (89) gives control of the state to his brother. His brother’s ambition grows (105) and with help from the King of Naples, removes Prospero from power (125).
Prospero’s relationship with Miranda is an awkward one. It is his fault that they are on an island and she has had no other friendships, which is why he hesitates to tell her. Prospero also treats her poorly, repeatedly asking her to listen to him throughout his speech. He then puts her to sleep when she might get in the way of his manipulations. That being said, he does love her, “I have done nothing but in care of thee” (16) and he calls the storm so as to save them.
Before Prospero came to the island, Caliban and his mother, Sycorax, were masters of the island. With the arrival of Prospero, Sycorax is eliminated and Caliban is adopted by Prospero, “When thou cam’st first, thou strok’st me and made much of me” (336-7). This lasts until Caliban has shown Prospero all of the island. Their relationship changes when Caliban falls in love with Miranda and Prospero catches him, “thou didst seek to violate…/the honor of my child” (351-2). Then Caliban is enslaved.
Prospero lost his kingdom because of his obsession with magic. After he arrives on the island he takes control of the island, making up for his past neglect of the world. Caliban used to rule the island with his mother but this changes with Prospero comes. With the arrival of Prospero, Caliban is enslaved. He wishes for nothing more than to rule over others. Sebastian is Alonso’s brother, the King of Naples and he wants to take his brother’s place, as Antonio had taken Prospero’s. Ariel is enslaved by Sycorax and freed by Prospero, in exchange for a year of service.
Ariel is describing the death of Ferdinand’s father in the storm. The words, “full fathom five”(401) not only uses nautical terminology but also indicates how far into the water, Ferdinand’s father lies. The imagery of the bones becoming coral (402) and transforming with the sea (405) further emphasize water. Lastly, the ‘sea nymphs’ visually helps us picture the scene, along with the death bell.
Sea change implies a physical change created by the sea — like the body actually detonating in the scene. It also implies a change in fortune, as caused by the sea. We know this because the next line “into something rich and strange” (406) indicates the transformation of bones into coral, or a change in fortune. It implies a deep transformation.
Gonzalo’s approach for ruling the island resembles a utopia, where no one works and nature provides everything (completely contrary to society). This is different from Prospero’s way of ruling the island which emphasizes learning and tight control of resources. His speech reflects Shakespeare’s view of the English conquest of the New World, where the native people are enslaved for the benefit of the wealthy.