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Humanism characteristcs of prospero

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  • Pages: 2
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  • Category: Song

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In order to answer the following question one must understand the meaning of humanism and humanism attributes. Humanism is a quality of being concerned of human beings welfare; it is a virtue of upholding human dignity. A humanist is a supporter of the values of humanism. In matters regarding renaissance a humanist is a scholar devoted in humanism, in other words humanism characteristics include generosity, honesty, being kind among others.

Based on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (495-563) In this Art 1, Scene 2, I would not consider Prospero to be a humanist or to have any humanist attributes or characteristics. This is evident from the conversation between him and Caliban on this particular scene. During this conversation Caliban is accusing Prospero of stealing the island.

It is here whereby Prospero retaliates by using abusive language by calling Caliban names and reminding him that he is in charge by calling Prospero a slave. “Thou most lying slave, Hag-seed, hence”. This is abusive language that shows Prospero Is not a humanist. Caliban also accuses Prospero of teaching him bad language “You taught me language; and my profit on’t is know how to curse. The red plague rid you, for learning me your language!”

It is also evident that Prospero uses his magical powers to oppress people and is able to invoke spirits and nymphs to perform tasks. This so because in the conversation Caliban is afraid that he must obey Prospero’s powers since he can use them against him, he says “I must obey: his art is of such power. It would control my dam’s god, Setebos, 530 and make a vassal of him” this is another evidence that Prospero is not a humanist.

Lastly the song that Ariel sings in this scene shows a lamentation on the powers of Prospero. The song describes keenly how they are willing to be free from their master Prospero. The lamentation of Ferdinand also expresses and accuses Prospero of capturing the island and usurping power

It is therefore evident from the conversations that Prospero is not a humanist.


Act 1, Scene 2 Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. . Horace Howard Furness. New York,Dover, 1964. Print.

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