The Tempest and the Rape of the Rock

Written by William Shakespeare, Tempest is a poem that exhibits the intriguing features of humankind. The poem is set on an island and it explores the characters by giving them a chance to experiment the human nature. Through the island, Shakespeare is able to describe the themes of power while Prospero explores his leadership skills. On the other hand, the poem the rape of the lock by Alexander Pope ridicules the habits of the upper-class people.

Shakespeare uses the island to experiment human qualities of different characters in his poetry. For instance, when Prospero’s brother is forcefully evicted from kingship, he moves to the island, which is like a testing ground for him and Shakespeare uses the island to promote the theme of power.

While on the island, Prospero eventually dominates all the other people on the ship yet his brother had taken his kingship away during his reign in Milan. Shakespeare seems to nurture both the negative and positive qualities of human nature. Intellectually, Shakespeare uses the events at the island to explore betrayal that exists among kingdoms and rulers on earth.

Through the poem/island, Shakespeare highlights the observations he has made in most kingdoms. Shakespeare uses the island to provide the failures of human leadership whereby, throughout his life he has seen betrayal/fights among the royal classes. Furthermore, Shakespeare describes the sexuality and abuse of humanity that goes on in many kingdoms; for instance, Caliban has not only attempted to seduce Miranda, a young girl, but also tried to rape her.

Through the author’s voice, the reader is able to condemn the evil or betrayal of human beings in the society. Additionally, using the island to symbolize the kingdom, the author provides conspiracy that occurs in most kingdoms because Antonio and Sebastian plot to kill Prospero yet he is the ruler/owner of the island. Therefore, Shakespeare not only uses the island as a kingdom to explore his themes, but also to nurture and reveal the characters of different people, which exists in the world.

Prospero is Shakespeare’s principal character who runs for his life after his brother attempts to eliminate him and take over the kingdom (Langbaum 20). Finally, he settles in the island and calls all people to board a ship. He invites people of all classes to live with him in the island ranging from servants/maids to royal class.

Therefore, the island is a testing ground, which gives him an opportunity to learn, nurture, and provide his leadership skills that his brother overlooked. While in the island, he uses his magical power to rock a ship, which has boarded many people.

Thus, through the island he manipulates the psychology of other people to emerge as the leader (king). While on the island, he cultures his genuine qualities as a leader. Moreover, his godly like character while on the island leaves the reader to categorize his behavior as a human leader because although he and powers to stop his brother’s hostility, he leaves him to take over, and decides to move to unknown island.

In addition, while in the island, Prospero cultivates the character of his daughter by giving her reasons why the island is the apparent home for them. Therefore, the island acts as a rescue home where he experiments his leadership powers testing the people and eventually emerging as a true leader.

On the other hand, the rape of the lock is a comical poem that ridicules the elite community especially the leaders/upper class. Though holding high position in the society, the high and might let petty issues to sweep their emotions; something that connects the upper social class with the lower social class. The first people that Pope ridicules are women who are self-centered; they care so much their physical appearance rather than their morality.

For instance, though beautiful, Belinda has a wide collection of beauty accessories meant to attract men, which not only makes her outstanding, but also leads her to seek fame through competition. Pope uses trivial events like playing cards to highlight the extent that people in the society can go to seek fame. Due to envy, women are unable to protect each other; for instance, Clarissa conspires to bring down Belinda’s beauty.

Therefore, the competition for trivial things like husbands makes paints women as evil people in the society. Pope also ridicules high men in the society who take pleasure in devouring the innocent young women by sexually assaulting them. In the first stanza, section I, Pope mocks the great or upper class in the society when he says, “what mighty contest rise from trivial things” (line II par.1).

Moreover, by using the element of juxtaposition, Pope belittles the hero nature of Belinda especially when he says, “nymph shall break Diana’s law or soma frail china’s jar” (section II, stanza VII, lines 106-107). Thus, with the use of funny object or non-important things, Pope undermines the mighty in the society achieving his goal of pointing out the loss of virtues among the leaders.

In summary, both Shakespeare and Pope communicate effectively to their societies through poetry. While Shakespeare uses the island to explore his themes, Pope uses comic and juxtaposition to ridicule the elite in the society.

Works cited

Langbaum, Robert. Shakespeare’s The Tempest. New York: Signet Classic, 1998.

Pope, Alexander. The rape of the rock, 2009. Web. 19 June 2011.