What's his purpose?

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"Gonzalo's guilt valorizes his conduct and speech" (Yachinin 43).

I didn't really understand Gonzalo's role in The Tempest. Was he in the group who exiled Prospero and Miranda? If so, why did Prospero welcome him in the end. I was confused in what he had done and what his purpose was. Why did Shakespeare have him say all the random things he always said in order to try to brigthen the mood.

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Greta Carroll said:

Gonzalo was the person who Antonio put in charge of coming up with a scheme to get rid of Prospero. He was the one that put Prospero and Miranda in a tub and sent them adrift. Prospero likes him though despite this because he realizes that Gonzalo as a subordinate to Antonio had little choice in the matter and Gonzalo also gave Prospero food and books so that he could survive. Gonzalo did help brighten the mood, but I think he does serve a larger purpose than that. What that purpose is, I don’t know. I don’t agree with a lot of what Yachnin argues because he based it on the assumption that Shakespeare agreed with popular opinion that one must obey above all else, so I won’t tell you that Gonzalo serves to show the audience that obedience is good.

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