“The Tempest” by William Shakespeare Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Jul 8th, 2020

William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” has several characters that can be seen as “the bad guy”. Both Caliban and Antonio might seem as unpleasant but Caliban has his reasons, which could be understood while Antonio’s are much different.

In the play, Antonio is Prospero’s brother but acts as a person who does not care about family and all he thinks about is greed and power. He will step over any obstacle to follow his own goals without paying attention to others. The first instance the audience experiences his character is when he hides his fear by blaming others.

When he says: “Hang, Cur, Hang! You whoreson, insolent noisemaker…” (Shakespeare 9) it is made clear that he has no respect for others and considers himself the wisest person around. He focuses all his attention on the faults and mistakes that other people make without giving much consideration to his own actions.

This shows that a person has no want or need to think about own character and instead, thinks about other people and ways of finding wrongdoings in their behavior. This sort of attitude is often exhibited by foolish and angry people who are unable to better themselves and so, they try lowering others to make their own individuality seem higher.

Comparing to Caliban this is much different because for Caliban his island is his home and all he wants is to protect it. At the same time, he is made a slave and now belongs to Prospero. Anyone in his position would do the same, as he was used to enjoying a relative freedom whereas now, he has to serve, on his own island nonetheless.

William Shakespeare creates a great contrast between Antonio and others by involving him in a plot to take over the ownership of the island and by his constant foolish, coward and selfish actions.

The diminishing tone in which he speaks of other people is present throughout the play and gives the audience a constant look at his true character. Among other negative characteristics, Antonio is shown as being deceiving and conniving. The way he talks to Sebastian and persuades him to commit murder is another example of his character. He is very sneaky and knows how to reach his own goals over others’.

The contrast is again made with Caliban where the latter is sensitive in his speeches about the island and its beauty. This shows that he also cares deeply about his some and has a sense of belonging to something outside himself. The story with Antonio is much different because all he cares about is his persona and wants everything for his egotistical individuality. A clear fact that he loves only himself can be seen when he states:

  • And look how well my garments sit upon me;
  • Much feater than before; my brother’s servants
  • Were then my fellows; now they are my men. (Shakespeare 71).

There is no doubt in the audience’s mind that all the tricks that Antonio thinks of are his own and he only expects to have all the riches to himself. Even though he seems to be friends with Sebastian, people like him can never respect others.

The effect that Antonio creates is very negative and evil. He is the worst person amongst others and Shakespeare made sure that all the characteristics of “the bad guy” are present.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. New York, United States: Washington Square Press, 1994. Print.

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