Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ highlights the lack of female independence in the Elizabethan era, the time of which the play was performed. This is through the pivotal single female speaking character, Miranda, who is socially guarded and protected by her father Prospero. She is therefore unable to experience simple interactions with men as Ferdinand was the “third man [she] e’er saw”. This is representative of the strict patriarchal society where men dominated and prevented the freedom of a woman as they must “obey and be attentive”. It is therefore Miranda’s obedience which allows her to find happiness with her lover Ferdinand, contrasting ‘Othello’s’ Shakespearean character Desdemona who must ultimately die due to her rebellion to the norms of the Elizabethan Society, where she “betrayed” her father. Perhaps Shakespeare is suggesting that women who conform to their male superiors will succeed in finding love and happiness, whilst those who rebel will not survive in society.Though Miranda may believe she fell in love with Ferdinand on her own accord, this is just another example of male manipulation as her father orchestrated their meeting “aside”, quite cunningly addressing to the audience “it goes on”, his plan unfolding. Grindlay suggests both Miranda and Ferdinand are merely “actors playing the parts that Prospero has assigned them”, using his supernatural abilities, allowing him to control Miranda as she becomes “inclin’d to sleep”. The power imbalance is also evident as Prospero dominates the majority of the dialogue between his conversations with his daughter. This further implies that women were not granted an opinion and were expected to follow the expectations of their fathers and husbands. However, perhaps Shakespeare purposely allows Miranda to have more dialogue in her conversation with Ferdinand to suggest a changing movement in the younger generation that allows women to be more liberal. As opposed to inhibiting a stereotypical timid persona, Miranda freely discusses her “modesty”, claiming a lack of sexual experience which would have been a taboo topic, her liberality shocking the audience. It is through Miranda’s meeting with Ferdinand that allows her develop as a character and become more expressive.
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