Shakespeare and Prospero
Want a study guide too?
Is Prospero just Big Willy Shakes in disguise? Shmoop amongst yourselves.
|Author||Shakespeare - William Shakespeare|
|Literary Topics||Author Highlights|
Prospero isn't just the exiled Duke of Milan; he's also a pretty darned talented sorcerer.
Probably not on par with Dumbledore but, you know, the man can do stuff.
But did you know that many people think Prospero is a stand-in for Shakespeare?
Prospero is in control of the characters and spirits in residence on his wee island.
He uses his sorcery to separate people from one another. He can compel people and spirits
to become his servants.
Heck, if he wanted to he could even force the unwilling to come over and play Dungeons
and Dragons and eat Cheetos with him on a Friday night.
And let's not forget that Prospero can magic hurricanes out of thin air. That's some serious
voodoo right there. But who is it that's in control of Prospero?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that would be the amazing, astonishing, totally cool William
After all, he's the one who wrote The Tempest, the one who came up with the characters and
the plot and turned the ideas in his head into words on paper.
It isn't all about control, however. The Tempest is believed to be the last play Shakespeare
…and many think that Shakespeare used Prospero's last speech as a way to say adios and hasta
luego to his audience.
And what a speech it is. Prospero willingly gives up his magic, but he then asks the audience
to clap, as their applause is the only thing that can set him free from the island.
Sounds like a clever way for Shakespeare to get an ego massage but, hey, who are we to
If we could get an audience to clap on command, we'd probably be all over that, too.
So, you've got a couple of control freaks in Prospero and his creator, Shakespeare.
You've got Prospero giving a speech that not only echoes Shakespeare's feelings about his
…but also calls on the audience to clap...and then clap some more...and then keep on clapping.
You! Yes, you, the red-headed gentleman in the front row! Clap harder!
Yep, there's a case here for believing that Prospero served as a stand-in for Shakespeare.
Will we ever know the truth? Probably not, because Shakespeare is dead, and it's not
like we can ask the man...
Unless someone has a Ouija board?