Why Does Prospero Give up His Magic?

In the play, Prospero is presented as a magician who gets his fantastic powers from the books. There are a lot of things that he managed to achieve thanks to that power. However, by the end of The Tempest, Prospero swears to throw away all his books and put an end to this chapter of his life. He finally realizes how dangerous magic can be.

Even before coming to the island, Prospero was famous for his love for books. He could spend days in his library, hardly noticing what was happening around him. When his brother betrayed him, and Prospero was forced to take his daughter, Miranda, and flee, some book happened to be on the ship they took. He got some help from the local spirit, Ariel, which gave Prospero even more control on the island. Thanks to all that magic, Prospero ultimately became the ruler of the whole island.

Throughout the play, he is using magic to manipulate other characters. It all aligns with Prospero’s plan to take revenge on his brother, Antonio. During one of the acts, he even gives a speech about how helpful magic has been and how much he accomplished thanks to it. However, Prospero also promises to leave “this rough magic” after his plan is fulfilled. It shows that he realized how destructive this power could be. Even though no character is harmed, magic carries the potential of great destruction. Prospero himself admits that his obsession with magic books allowed Antonio to take over the city. Therefore, the main character decided to use magic to punish the criminals, restore justice and get back his position. After that, Prospero can give this supernatural power up.

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