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Exploring the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation

(b) The Tempest is a play of forgiveness and reconciliation. How successful is the play in exploring these themes? Prospero is a character that seems to stand at the very centre of The Tempest. Throughout the play, he prompts most of the action, and he has the last word. The entire plot of the play is a scheme designed by Prospero to bring his rivals to a state of regret so that he can pardon them and restore the rightful order of things to his dukedom of Milan. As Prospero is seen as being all-powerful over the island, he could easily destroy or punish his enemies by any method or means. However, he chooses not to and brings the past conspirators face-to- face with the sins of their past, which causes them to be repentant. In a god-like way, Prospero forgives each of them, allowing them to live and return to Italy. In appreciation, they promise to faithfully serve Prospero. It is a picture of full reconciliation, with the exception of Antonio. This shows that the theme of this play is the ‘chain of forgiveness and reconciliation’, filled with religious overtones.The religious theme in this play may be shown by how Prospero exemplifies wisdom, justice, and super-human good judgement. In relation to the other characters, this may be argued to show a Christ -like representation of Prospero to the readers or audience of the play. The time when the play was written would mean an audience composed of Christians, who would have almost certainly agreed that forgiveness was essential. Like Jesus he is betrayed by his enemies. After he is stripped of his power, Prospero is then sent to die at sea; but he is almost miraculously raised from the near-dead due to the loving care of Gonzalo, who is a God-like figure due to his age, wisdom, kindness and caring. In spite of the wrongs done to Prospero, like Jesus, he bears no grudges and does not become bitter. Instead, he uses his power to gather his enemies so that he can bring them to...

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