In The Tempest, Why Does Ariel Do as Prospero Orders Him?

In Shakespeare’s play, Ariel is portrayed as a magical spirit under Prospero’s control. Throughout the whole play, he has to complete different tasks the magician gives him. Every time Ariel hopes that it would be the last one, but he doesn’t get his freedom back until the end of The Tempest.

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The audience finds out that Ariel once was a free spirit. However, it happened that the witch, Sycorax, who lived on the island long before the play’s plot, trapped Ariel in a tree. Upon arrival, Prospero managed to set the spirit free, but only for a moment. In return, the magical character had to promise to obey Prospero until the latter agrees to put their agreement to an end. Ever since then, Ariel has been following the magician’s orders. Whenever he begins to act somehow disobedient, Prospero is quick to remind him about the rescue from the tree. And even though Ariel possesses much more magical power than his master, he doesn’t risk rebelling. It points out how strong the bond is. 

At the same time, Ariel seems to try and look at the situation quite positively. Instead of grieving and longing for freedom all the time as Caliban, he is looking into the bright future. Ariel completes every task with perfection and enthusiasm since each of them brings him closer to a free life. Moreover, he does some extra work and updates Prospero about the events on the island. Ariel even warns him when there are life threats. At the end of the play, the last Prospero’s order to Ariel is to keep the waters calm so that the whole party can leave the island. 

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