The Tempest: Power, Politics And Revenge

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The Tempest and Hag-Seed have a variety of themes but power, politics, and revenge stand out. The three issues go hand in hand and the authors had a particular interest in them and the description of the portrayal of the three themes forms the basis of this analysis.

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Prospero and Antonio’s selfish ways of thinking disclose people’s inherent opportunism in acquiring power when they are far from the inbounds of society’s inflexible structures. This is directly related to Prospero’s character who uses a bitter tone to give an explanation to Miranda. However, he later admits the blame for his abandoned kingdom when he welcomes Alons. Under the influence of romances, he shows forgiveness and mercy to his traitors.

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The power-politics relationship between Prospero and Antonio is characterized by abuse of authority, questioning authority, responsibility, betrayal, and a series of insurrection. The themes relate to the modern world which makes it possible for the audience to relate their feelings with either of the two brothers. The author depicts Prospero as a protagonist who was dethroned. The audience often feels sympathy for him which through the game of manipulation gains allowance for wrongdoing. On the other hand, Antonio is an authoritative character who exposes his evil nature in the first scene when he curses the boatswain.

Antonio abuses and seeks Prospero’s power and throne for his own revolt. He steals his brother’s position as the Duke of Milan and illegally takes over the throne. He also plans Prospero’s and Miranda’s murder but the people who are sent to execute it fails to do so since they know Prospero is a good man. Antonio learns political betrayal tricks as he serves on the throne and uses them against his brother. Prospero gets so engrossed in his study of magic to an extent that he almost gives his brother his Dukedom.

When Prospero is stranded on the island, he decides to revenge on Antonio for harming him. He starts by shipwrecking Antonio’s ship for exiling him to the island. But even when he had the chance to harm Antonio, he decides to show him mercy and punishes him in ways that did not destroy his life. Prospero shows that one cannot get much from revenge. He decides to allow Antonio to see the magnitude of his powers so that he could repent from what he had done to him. He commands one of the spirits to ensure Antonio’s safety when he wrecked his ship. He is depicted as judicious in his use of power. He resembles the character of most nations that advocate for diplomatic alliances as a solution to the global power antagonism.

The main difference between Prospero and his brother is that he is not willing to kill to gain power. However, he is not that different characteristically from Antonio when the character is compared with the colonial era. Their idea of power is that the end justifies the means. Prospero may not be as addicted to fratricide as his brother is, but he is not that different from him. His capability to show mercy and forgive is depicted at the end of the novel, an action that the author uses to make it clear that politics can be practiced in a humane manner.

Atwood’s Hag-Seed however has a very different idea of the kingdom. Felix Philips is at the peak of directing his career when he is ejected by Tony and Sal. The two are modern representations of Antonio and Alonso. The theme of power is transferred from the court to an office-work niche, and even to politics. Atwood uses the novel to depict the deep corruption that is prevailing in modern society. Corruption is the main cause of the economic and political deterioration of our society. Similar to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Atwood’s works show that revenge is not an adequate way of reacting to one’s problems especially when the issue of power is involved. Her choice of setup has a high chance of being coarse but she modifies it into something extraordinary. Felix is cast aside just before he unleashes his production of The Tempest, which is his greatest creation. His production would have laid to rest all his previous mistakes in life and career, and also help him grieve the death of his daughter.

Felix in Hag-Seed, who represents Prospero, has to wait for twelve years before getting his revenge on Tony and Sal. He plans to create his own storm which is creative and delightful. He secures a job in a correctional facility as an acting tutor. He urges his characters to stage “his” Tempest and also reintegrates the actress that he previously intended to represent his daughter, Miranda. He even invited some government officials to observe the progress that he had made with the inmates which earned him extra financial support. One of the high-ups in the government happens to be Tony who was the minister of heritage. Tony’s role as the director made it easier for him to become a minister. This gives Felix the chance to show Tony what nemesis means.

Felix is a superb character with who the author somehow has the audience in love. The twelve years he waited before his revenge made him just and more bearable. He has the power to tailor his play in a way that would earn him his revenge. He, therefore, asks the inmates to compile and memorize a number of “curse words” such as “filth thou art”, “hag-seed, among others. Hag-Seed builds a remarkable end of dark catastrophe, with a fantastic footnote that sees that inmate actors analyze what they wanted to happen next in the play. The author gives the novel a new meaning that fits in the paradox that exists in global politics which are characterized by incidences of the cold war after the Vietnam War.


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