Every Man For Himself

Bethany Bouchard
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"On one side is obedience: no man is "his own" since each man is determined by his station (Kermode V.i.213n); and on the other side is conscience: each man is himself because each values himself according to the integrity of his conscience..." (Yachnin 43).

I can see where this point comes into play quite often in William Shakespeare's The Tempest. "No man is 'his own," as Yachnin says, and the reader can identify several instances of character in which this statement is true. Ariel is enslaved to Prospero. Miranda and Ferdinand are under Prospero's rule, which is probably doubly worse for Miranda, since she is Prospero's daughter. Caliban is also a servant to Prospero. Prospero is, in a sense, a slave to the island, since he has been stranded there and is not there by his own choice.

"And on the other side is conscience." This is reflected in characters like Ferdinand. He is a prince, yet he gives in to the rule of Prospero in order to win his favor so that he may marry Miranda. He also remains true to his promise to not violate Miranda's virtue until they are married.

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This page contains a single entry by Bethany Bouchard published on March 14, 2009 2:54 PM.

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