What Is the Theme of The Tempest?

Shakespeare’s The Tempest raises a few quite important and relevant literary themes. One of them is colonization. It was a popular topic back then, and its main issues are well represented in the play. However, power may be considered the central theme in The Tempest and goes throughout the whole plot.

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The theme of colonization is shown through the relationship between Prospero and Caliban. As a colonizer, Prospero indeed decided that the rights to own and rule the land belongs to him, and the native inhabitant is not educated enough to be anything more than a slave. It is not surprising that Caliban disagrees with such terms, especially that he was the only local on the island. Perhaps it was a mere misunderstanding, or maybe Prospero did it consciously, but it led to a conflict. Therefore, Shakespeare‘s main point is that colonization should be peaceful, and trade is better than a war between colonizers and locals. 

One of the first themes that come up in the play is magic since it appears on stage as early as in the first act. Prospero is the representation of this topic since he uses magic to execute his revenge plan. However, he mainly uses illusions to manipulate characters. Therefore, everyone is left unharmed. Magic Prospero possesses gives him almost total control over the events on the island. It leads us to the theme of power. In The Tempest, plots and conflicts over power are between almost all characters. However, in the end, Prospero poses as a role model and shows that compromise is a much better tool to rule everything out than violence. 

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