p.p1 downfall of his dukedom and the rise

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The discovery of power can have an emotional and physical transformative impact on the life of an individual. Shakespeare represents this through the subversion of the traditional role of protagonists as an inherently good and sympathetic character, rather portraying Prospero as a man of ambiguous morality due to his obsession with the acquirement of knowledge. Written from the context of the Renaissance, in which the discovery of knowledge and enlightenment was valued above all, Shakespeare again challenges the values of his content in a way that has resonated throughout time. He portrays the relationship between knowledge and power as being inextricably linked, as Prospero’s discovery of knowledge and subsequently power through his magic books lead to both the downfall of his dukedom and the rise of his tyranny upon the island, as he becomes infatuated with control, lording it over the inhabitants of the island, such as Ariel which is evident through the dialogue “Dost thou forget/ From what a torment I did free thee?”. However, Shakespeare utilises dramatic irony to emphasise how Prospero’s own scheme forces himself to recognise the suffering he causes his usurpers, and his epiphany that his actions are immoral is evident through the rhetorical question in “shall not myself, as a human be kindlier moved than thou art?”. This epiphany forges his destiny and allows him to make an authentic self-discovery which ultimately has positive emotional impacts upon himself, as in the conventional restoration of order, Prospero recognises that for him, power is incompatible with a moral life and casts off his magic, leading him to discover new and changed values of mercy, atonement and morality and thus new ideas stimulated about being virtuous and being a good leader.

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