The Tempest - ShakespeareWatch
In this thread, all discussion on The Tempest is welcome, be it on characters or themes - and any students with useful links please post them, because every little thing is of enormous help for everyone, I'm sure.
I'm doing the Tempest for AS level so here are the relationships in a nutshell:
Prospero/Miranda: Father/Daughter relationship, obviously; he keeps the entire story about how they are on the island to himself until he creates the tempest, so he has kept her quite isolated and succeeded in retaining her innocence and naivety. From a feminist perspective it appears that Pr. restricts Mi. a lot - he can make her fall asleep at will, doesn't let her see everything the island has to offer, etc. He also appears very insincere at times about how much he cares for his daughter - "I have done nothing but in care of thee, Of thee, my dear one, thee my daughter..." - it's easy to wonder just how much Pr. was thinking of Mi. when he conjured up the tempest. However it is clear that he does care for her immensely, when we learn that he prevented Caliban from "violating" her.
Prospero/Caliban: Master/Slave relationship. You can say that this is very like a coloniser/colonised relationship, where Prospero just seized power of the island from Caliban as soon as he arrived, just like the European settlers in the Americas in the 1600s. Pr. uses loads of derogatory terms when addressing Caliban - "poisonous slave", "dam", "Hag-seed", etc - which asserts his authority over him. We learn that originally Pr. was quite nice to Caliban, until the incident with Mi, so one could be forgiven for sympathising with Pr. on his treatment of Ca. We also see the debate of Nature vs. Nurture appear, especially towards the end - Pr. says "this thing of darkness I acknowledge mine", which could mean 1) that Pr. is admitting the fact that he has probably made Caliban what he is by treating him badly or 2) that he is simply admitting that he owns Caliban.
Prospero/Ariel: Master/Slave relationship again, but different because although Ariel is Prospero's slave, he appears to enjoy his tasks that Pr. makes him do, and the ways in which Prospero addresses Ariel - "my dainty Ariel", "my bird", "my Ariel, chick", is very different to the terms he applies to Caliban. However the theme of isolation and entrapment appears here, because although Pr. freed Ariel from the tree in which he was imprisoned, he essentially trapped him again by making him a slave, and in all the addresses above, although they are terms of endearment, they do esentially all begin with "my". At the beginning, when Ariel is asking for freedom, Pr. doesn't give in and will not free him. However at the end, in a turn of events, it would appear that Pr. is taught morality and humanity by a spirit, who is not human in Act 5 Scene 1, lines 15-20, where Ariel says that he would feel "tender" towards the shipwrecked crew if he was human, and Prospero agrees that "mine shall".
Miranda/Ferdinand: Lovers. Miranda falls instantly in love with Ferdinand because he is the first man she has ever seen, so her innocence shines through when she is with him. You could say that it is like Miranda is simply being passed over from Pr. to Ferdinand, a sense of ownership - linking to the theme of entrapment.
Other than these, there's the general theme of family relationships between Prospero/Antonio, Alonso/Sebastian - these are linked with the theme of usurpation - Sebastian wants to usurp Alonso just as Antonio did to Prospero so they can rule Milan together.
And the relationship between Stephano/Caliban can be contrasted with Prospero/Caliban.