Prospero is the main character in The Tempest, Duke of Milan, sorcerer, master of the monster Caliban and the spirit Ariel and father of the beautiful Miranda. Inspired by court astrologer John Dee, scientist Thomas Harriot, Shakespeare himself, God or King James I of England, certainly Prospero is in good company.
His closing words at the end of the last act seem to mirror Shakespeare's own farewell to the world of London theatres where he ruled for over twenty years.
- Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
- And what strength I have's mine own,
- Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
- I must be here confined by you,
- Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
- Since I have my dukedom got
- And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
- In this bare island by your spell;
- But release me from my bands
- With the help of your good hands:
- Gentle breath of yours my sails
- Must fill, or else my project fails,
- Which was to please. Now I want
- Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
- And my ending is despair,
- Unless I be relieved by prayer,
- Which pierces so that it assaults
- Mercy itself and frees all faults.
- As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
- Let your indulgence set me free.
- --oOo-- -