More than just a house?

Objects throughout The Return of the Soldier symbolize ideas, mirror and elaborate on the characters, and act as catalysts. Margaret’s “unpardonable raincoat” is a physical manifestation of her poverty and separation from the Baldry’s upper class. The nymph in its black bowl represents Chris, or perhaps more accurately, Jenny’s perception of Chris and his thoughts. The picture of Oliver sparked Margaret’s idea to heal Chris, and the boy’s ball and clothing held the power to remind Chris of all he had forgotten. Though they possess many smaller objects with additional meaning, the homes of Baldry Court and Mariposa are a helpful representation of the people who live in them and they way in which they live.

Baldry Court is presented as a magnificent home at the outset of the novel. Kitty and Jenny have painstakingly decorated each room to satisfy the finest tastes and trends. The house exudes the rank of those who inhabit it, and even the boarder around the home, as described by Jenny, “proclaims that here we estimate only controlled beauty, that the wild will not have its way within our gates, that it must be made delicate and decorated into felicity” (Pg. 90). In this house, Kitty and Jenny tried to seclude themselves from the reality of life outside its walls. They attempt to produce a haven where Chris’s happiness is inevitable, believing their creation to be that “one little part of the world that was…good enough for his amazing goodness” (Pg. 50). Yet when Chris returned from the war, the changes they made caused him to stumble; he did not recognize his home just as he did not recognize his wife (Pg. 65). All Kitty’s efforts to maintain an image of class and happiness failed to preserve her marriage – a façade was simply not enough.

Mariposa, like its inhabitants, is the opposite of Baldry Court. It is one of many identical “brick boxes” on a mundane row, and it even lacks an almond tree, the one aesthetic feature of the street (Pg. 80). Margaret herself admits, “It is a horrid little house” (Pg. 84). Yet inside, Jenny finds all the objects mentioned in Chris’s descriptions of Monkey Island. Margaret has carried the decorations and possessions along with her, and this manages to transport even her skeptical visitor to the past. Just like her home, Margaret is consistent. She pursues truth and kindness always, whether in her dealings with the Baldry’s, with the families she served, or with her old and clumsy husband. Though the location of her home has changed, just as her beauty has faded, she remains the same. Chris knew that she would not – could not – change, and he was right. Jenny, despite whatever jealousy she felt, took note early on of “this woman whose personality was sounding through her squalor like a beautiful voice singing in a darkened room” (Pg. 82). This consistency and commitment to truth and righteousness lead Margaret to make the difficult choice of honesty in the end, despite her personal hopes and desires. Though she was not much to look at, Margaret held goodness and strength within her walls. She was the constant thread in Chris’s memory, and she possessed the power and courage to take action while Kitty looked on from her lofty window, looking exquisite on the outside but requiring Margaret’s action to fill her pretty shell.

Man or wife?

The fates of the characters at the end of the novel, along with the fully revealed secrets, leave us with a solidified perspective of who these people were. It is particularly interesting to look at the final situations of Helen and George Talboys. Both made mistakes in their relationship and both received our sympathy, but despite the complex nature of their actions and motivations, their fates seemed to follow the trajectory of their characters’ presentations.

Though she did suffer many hardships during her life, Lady Audley seems to end up where she belonged. Even when Braddon managed to make us sympathize with her, we still understood that Lady Audley had pushed the boundaries too far. She attempted to kill her first husband and set fire to a public house full of people, knowing exactly what she was doing, no matter what she claimed about her sanity. As Dr. Mosgrove said, “The lady is not mad; but she has the hereditary taint in her blood. She has the cunning of madness, with the prudence of intelligence…She is dangerous!” (Vol III, Ch V). Regardless of Lady Audley’s mental state, it seemed only right that she suffer consequences for her choices and be prevented from doing any further harm. Robert could have placed in her in a much less friendly institution, yet he made sure she would be taken care of. This reflects some of the inner conflict we feel toward Lady Audley’s character; she appears to be a villain, though we do understand where she derived her motivations. Our sympathy is satisfied by her decent treatment, and although she claims that “the law could providence no worse sentence than this”, we feel that it is a sentence she deserves and one that other people, as Mr. Talboys says himself, would have considered perhaps a bit too kind. Lady Audley claimed on more than one occasion that she wished to end her own life, and in a sense, she may have felt some relief from her demise shortly after being placed in confinement. In the end, the lives she attempted to take go on without her and the one she tried to steal for herself is cut short.

George Talboy’s surprise return and happy settlement with his child, friend, and sister show us that he was not just a victim, but also a good man. He certainly made some mistakes – he should have never deserted his wife in the way that he did – but he never had ill intentions. We realized his excessive optimism upon meeting him on the ship when he confessed, “I swear to you, Miss Morley, that, till you spoke to me to-night, I never felt one shadow of fear…” (Vol I Ch II). George brushes off any praise from the governess, exclaiming “Brave!…Wasn’t I working for my darling?”, showing us that he was devoted wholly to his wife throughout his harrowing adventure (Vol I Ch II). His distress over the death of his wife and willingness to give up his Australian fortune place him in contrast with Lady Audley and her selfishness. Even after she sends him to his believed death in the well, he leaves a letter expressing forgiveness. This ending solidifies the view that he was right in this relationship. He could have died in the well and she could have gotten away with her deception, but instead, he is left with the potential for future happiness, surrounded by those he loves.

The narrator leaves us with the reassurance that the story “leaves the good people all happy and at peace” (Vol III Ch X). George can go on pursuing both and though she was not left good or happy, perhaps even Helen Talboys found some peace.

Valid concerns or explainable occurrences?

Braddon’s characterization of Lady Audley through the beginning of the novel feels incomplete, thus creating an air of mystery about the woman that makes it difficult to discern what type of person she may truly be. One of the first descriptive statements about her in Chapter I tells us that “No one knew anything of her except that she came in answer to an advertisement…”. And the one link to Mrs. Audley’s past – the teacher who provided such a wonderful reference that dissipated any worry of the Dawson’s about her previous situation – is nowhere to be found when the Audley’s go looking for her (Vol. I, Ch. XI). We begin to question her honesty upon Robert’s observation of the bruises on her wrist and the incongruence of her explanation, and we wonder why she feels the need to lock her chambers when she leaves for London without any expressed reason. These unknowns and the suspicion they arouse are augmented by details that seem to contradict the lovely, delicate impression Lady Audley seems to leave on most people she meets. Alicia seems to have a stereotypically negative opinion of her young step mother, one that could be understood even if it had no merit, but she makes statements that are somewhat startling, such as in Chapter XIII when she says, “I’ve seen her do cruel things with those slender white fingers, and laugh at the pain she inflicted.” It feels odd that her dog, Caesar, shares this dislike and responds to Mrs. Audley in a way “more indicative of terror than of fury, incredible as it appears that Caesar should be frightened of so fragile a creature as Lucy Audley” (Vol. I, Ch. XIV). And we wonder if Braddon is trying to provide deeper insight into the woman’s character when she describes her portrait and the way it adds “sinister light to the deep blue eyes” and gives her mouth “an almost wicked look”, creating “the aspect of a beautiful fiend” (Vol I, Ch. VII). Finally, perhaps most concerning is the secret she entrusts to Phoebe, whose cousin apparently believes it powerful enough to be used as a bargaining chip for money.

Though these details certainly seem suspicious when gathered together, they are smattered through much more positive impressions of Lady Audley. We are told regularly of how “Wherever she went, she seemed to take joy and brightness with her” (Vol I, Ch. I). Nearly everyone loves the woman, and she even sparks the admiration of Robert, who seems to have no feelings in regard to any other person or thing in life. Michael Audley also seems to be a good man, and he has fallen completely in love with her and trusts fully in her goodness. There are also explanations that could dismiss all of these mysteries surrounding Lucy Audley. Her past of poverty may be incredibly painful, thus she hasn’t shared it with anyone in this new life. The teacher may have forgotten to include her address in the telegram due to illness and distraction. Lucy may have been embarrassed of the foolishness that caused her bruises and didn’t want to share it with a new acquaintance like Robert. Alicia may just be jealous of the new woman taking over her home and father’s affection, and her dog is a dog – his opinion cannot carry too much weight. The painting may be the result of an artist who loves to paint with a sinister slant, as is suggested, and considering the limits placed on women at this time, her secret may not be something that truly proves her to be of terrible character. These contradictory descriptions and explanations create even more questions, and the resulting uncertainty solidifies the novel as sensation fiction and makes us keep turning the page in search of a more complete picture.

Obligation or Pity?

The monster attempts to win Victor’s sympathies through his story by using emotional appeals, displaying his intelligence and capacity for good, and warning of his immense strength. Each of these had an effect on Frankenstein, but it seems to be the fact that he is the monster’s creator and is therefore indirectly responsible for each aspect of the story, the moves Frankenstein to compassion. In Volume II, Chapter IX, the monster tells his creator, “This passion is detrimental to me; for you do not reflect that you are the cause of its excess…What I ask of you is reasonable and moderate…” Thus the monster pulls at Victor’s sense of responsibility. As the creator, Victor is responsible for any pain, but he also has an opportunity to correct his creations experiences and prevent further death and damage. Doesn’t he have an obligation to rectify the situation he created? Immediately after this argument, we see compassion in Victor for the first time. He says, “I was moved…did I not, as his maker, owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow?” Though he returns to skepticism in the next paragraph, the seed planted by this sense of responsibility remains; we now see Victor attempt to resist his disgust, as he admits, “I tried to stifle these sensations; I thought, that as I could not sympathize with him, I had no right to withhold from him the small portion of happiness which was yet in my power to bestow.” Victor saw this argument exactly as the monster wanted him to, supporting its effectiveness. Although this sense of responsibility – to protect and facilitate happiness to the greatest extent in his power – also causes Victor to go back on his promise, this only further proves that moral obligation is the way to provoke him to action.

In contrast, I think the reader is more greatly affected by the monster’s emotional tale of rejection. Though we might agree with the argument of moral obligation that convicts Victor, we did not create the monster ourselves and therefore cannot feel that obligation as strongly. Our sympathies can also be captured with less resistance than Victor’s; the deaths of William and Justine may be tragic and unjust, but we didn’t suffer the bitterness of losing a brother and friend. Thus, as we watch the monster come to love the DeLacey’s and their goodness, we share in the monster’s pain when we read of their meeting: “Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me…[Felix] struck me violently with a stick. I could have torn him limb from limb…But my heart sunk within me as with bitter sickness, and I refrained” (Vol. II, Ch. VII). The monster had not fought against the villagers who stoned and chased him, and he did not hurt this family despite how easily he could have retaliated against them. This creates the sense that, rather than an angry, vengeful creature, the monster is the victim of prejudice and pain. We feel for him each time he cries, “Why did I live?” (Vol.I, Ch. VIII) and wish better for him as he begs Victor to “Let me see that I excite the sympathy of some existing thing!” (Vol. II, Ch. IX). As we pity this creature, we also see Victor’s capacity to provide him with a simple sense of acceptance, and the monster’s story therefore creates a compelling case, at least at first glance, for his creator’s help.

What’s the value of a letter?

By opening the novel with letters, Shelley creates an added element of intrigue for the reader. These notes drop us into the action and present the incomplete perspective of Walton, causing a greater appreciation and interest in the detail of the story told by Frankenstein when the first chapter begins. The letters also build interest through foreshadowing details, some of which may not have meaning to unfamiliar readers until several chapters into the novel. For instance, the monster Frankenstein created was very large, and we read in the fourth letter that a sledge pulled by dogs, which Victor seems to have been chasing, was driven by someone of “gigantic stature” (Pg. 58). Though connections like these help complete the big picture, they also lead us to wonder what turns the story could take to arrive at this opening situation in the middle of the arctic.

The epistolary opening also provides perspective on the novel’s characters. There appears to be a parallel between Walton and Frankenstein. Both were wholly consumed by a passionate goal, pursuing the glory of their endeavors at the sacrifice of nearly everything else in their lives. This not only tells us something about the two men, but also makes us wonder what else they may share and how their relationship may develop. The similarity in character may have created a biased approval of Frankenstein by Walton, but his descriptions and praise of his new companion provide us with an outside perspective on the man to compare with the way Frankenstein describes himself. This may prove to contradict the feelings of the monster, who we see apparently fleeing from his creator. The additional point of view provided in the opening letters adds another angle to the story, and the value of this perspective may prove to grow as the story progresses.

Can you be unaware yet in control?

The manipulations of “the lady” in Fantomina and her repeated successes, leave a reader feeling as though she is in control of her relationship with Beauplaisir; however, a closer look calls this perspective into question. Though “the lady” succeeded in her seductions each time, Bonplaisir could have refused at any point and ended the game – he simply didn’t. He may not have been aware of the power he held over this woman, but that does not make him any less in control. By definition, control is to “exercise direction over”, and though Bonplaisir may not have given commands, his choices and responses directed the choices and responses of “the lady”. No matter what she did, he was still the man, and his refusal would mean the end of the relationship. This is shown in the way his decisions determined “the lady’s” location throughout the story. She goes to the theater because of him. She traveled to Bath when he did, and she “remained privately in the town till she heard he was on his return.” Though Bonplaisir was unaware of any of these choices, “the lady” always had to follow his steps before she could attempt to guide his next ones.

Bonplaisir is also responsible for each change in character because of his change in feelings, which we see when the narrator tells us that ‘the lady’ “provided herself another disguise…once more to renew his twice-decayed ardors.” His inconsistency contrasted with her constancy, and although this virtue may have maintained ultimate power over the woman, Bonplaisir was the object of that constancy and that gave him control. “The lady” gave in to his every whim, and whatever his latest request, she always obliged and “obediently kept her word.”

If it were not for Bonplaisir and his vacillating desires, “the lady” would have had no reason to scheme. The façade of her control was permanently unveiled when the baby came early and her secret was revealed. She could not control every piece of her ploy, and it took this extreme circumstance for Bonplaisir to finally exercise the power he had all along to say no. As soon as he does, the game ends.

Two Sisters or One Example?

“Goblin Market” can be read from a number of perspectives with several interpretations of its overarching moral. Considering the debate that took place during the Victorian period centered on The Woman Question, it is easy to imagine that the poem is meant to be read as a warning of the world’s temptations, specifically for women. Read this way, Lizzie represents the ideal, steadfast woman, contrasted by her wandering sister, Laura. Interestingly, they are very close: their names are similar and they sleep together, rise together, and do all their work together – two sides of the same coin. This relationship choice supports the reading of the poem from a gendered perspective as opposed to the alternatives.

As mentioned, Lizzie and Laura stand in contrast to one another from the beginning, Lizzie being the good, principled one and Laura the gullible, sinful opposite. Lizzie is seen modeling the behavior Laura ought to have displayed. She warns of the goblins’ danger and resists them completely, refusing to even listen or look at the creatures in lines 64-68. Laura, left behind, gives into temptation, and as she “clipped a precious golden lock,” she sold a bit of herself to unchecked desire (Ln. 126). The fruit, representing sin or immorality, is not something she merely samples – Laura eats as much as she can before running home to tell her sister of plans to do so again. Thus, the poem warns of the intoxicating affect of one poor choice on an innocent girl. This one mistake leads to a life of emptiness, though it begins slowly. In lines 199 through 214, the poem describes the sisters’ domestic activities as the feminine ideal when it tells us that they rose, “neat like bees, as sweet and busy” and “talked as modest maidens should” (lines 201 and 209). Yet Laura’s “absent dream” left her “sick in part” – she was spoiled by contact with the world outside her idyllic duties in the home. This discontent led to not only the physical decline we see in lines 277-280: “Her hair grew thin and gray/She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn/To swift decay and burn/Her fire away,” but also to the loss of her value as a woman – “She no more swept the house/Tended the fowls or cows/Fetched honey, kneaded cakes of wheat/Brought water from the brook/But sat down listless in the chimney-nook/And would not eat” (lines 293-298). As a result, Lizzie was compelled to go face the goblins herself, showing that the “fallen woman” not only falls herself, but drags those around her along as well. Yet Lizzie, ever the model of what Laura should be, resists temptation even when surrounded, showing that a woman can in fact live up to the moral expectations placed on her, if she only tries hard enough.

The poem concludes on a positive note, with Laura telling her children of “how her sister stood/In deadly peril to do her good,” but only after she suffered a painful night, her final suffering for her mistake (lines 257-258). The healed Laura had gone on to do what a woman ought – to become a wife and bear children of her own. Reconciliation came from Lizzie’s moral solidarity and Laura’s return to what was seen as a woman’s proper place. In this way, the poem leaves readers with a picture of what the Victorian woman ought to be and a frightening reminder of what a fallen woman can do to herself and the ones she loves.

One Woman’s Song or an Age’s Cry?

Hood’s “Song of the Shirt” utilizes several techniques to create a vivid and painful picture of the lives of working women at the time. In particular, the images created bring us closer to the woman with phrases that help us experience her struggles along side her.

The poem begins with an immediate sense of exhaustion, and the images paint pictures of progressing levels of this all-consuming tiredness, moving from physical to mental to almost spiritual. Lines 1 and 2 describe a woman “With fingers weary and worn/With eyelids heavy and red.” We can see and imagine her physical fatigue, which is further support by line 10, where we see her working “Till the brain begins to swim.” The physical strain has lead to a mental emptiness, and as we imagine the times we have felt tired and numb, we realize how little we know of such deep weariness as she describes in lines 15-16, “over the buttons I fall asleep/And sew them on in a dream.” This work and the fear of what might happen if she stops, has become so deep that she cannot quit, even when her body should not be able to go on any longer. The images in lines 26-28 take the effects of this exhaustion one step further: “But why do I talk of Death?/That phantom of grisly bone/I hardly fear his terrible shape/It seems so like my own.” This paints an eerie picture of not only the physical frailty of the woman, but also the frailty of her spirit. She feels so little hope that death seems to be a reflection, or perhaps even an improvement, of herself. These images combine to give us a full picture of the suffering of mind, body, and spirit. They cause us to imagine a condition in which death sounds little different from life and where home, which ought to be a refuge, consists of “A wall so blank, my shadow I thank/For sometimes falling there” (ln. 40-41), only acts as a reminder of the poverty and emptiness.

The contrast between the images of reality and the woman’s dream also emphasizes reality’s bleakness, especially when the simplicity of the hoped-for respite is noted. The song says “Oh! But to breathe the breath of the cowslip and primrose sweet…For only one short hour” (ln 59-59, 66). This great dream is really only to have a moment to breathe. She does not wish for more food, a better home, or a new job. She would just like a moment to herself, or even just a chance to cry and feel some emotion beyond the numbness of her situation (ln. 70).

All of the perspectives the poem’s imagery provides are magnified when it is considered that they are encompassed in a song; this is not the story of one person, but the cry of thousands of women. This implied image of countless seamstresses sitting in rows and singing the words in unison amplifies the others and appeals to the reader’s most basic sense of justice.

London – Hole or Home?

In “A Description of a City Shower”, Swift creates the image of a damp and dreary London, yet the comedy he incorporates keeps his criticism from feeling too serious. His complaints feel like those made of one’s hometown; part of you hates it, but despite its faults, it is home all the same.

One example of this is Swift’s descriptions of London’s stench. He speaks of how, “Returning home at night, you’ll find the sink/Strike your offended sense with double stink” (Lines 5-6). This unfortunate feature of the stroll home is not really the fault of the rain, but of the population density, lack of sanitation, and the poor planning of the city itself. Perhaps even more descriptive are lines 55-56: “Filth of all hues and odors seem to tell/What street the sailed from, by their sight and smell.” As disgusting as they may be, these lines suggest an intimate knowledge of the city and could be considered strangely endearing; the place you can identify by its sewage down to the very street is most definitely the place you call home.

Swift complains of the unavoidable inconveniences that come with London’s climate, such as in lines 7-8 and 26-30. His descriptions of the dust and mud evoke thoughts of the already coal-laden air of London combining with the heaviness of rain, and the suffocating result is the image of an inescapable layer of filth on every surface. Yet, despite the weather, “To shops in crowds the daggled females fly/Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing buy” (Lines 33-34). Swift gives us a glimpse of the women, whose shopping fixes will be interrupted by nothing, scurrying about in mud-covered dresses and bargaining just for the sake of bargaining. Though this is a bit of a criticism in itself, it feels like that of a husband about his wife; she may be ridiculous and she may drive him crazy, but he knows her well and her antics provide for some of his deepest laughs.

Though Swift leaves us with 3 lines of frankly revolting descriptions of London’s sewage, the fun he pokes at the different groups of citizens who fill the city keeps the poem from feeling altogether negative. We see the frantic women, hear the complaints of aching joints, and laugh at the “various kinds”, Tories and Whigs alike, desperately trying to save their hair from the rain. These opposing attitudes do not feel so conflicting when we look at our own opinions of the towns we know well; it is those who know someplace best who are full of both the most poignant criticism and the deepest appreciation.

Can Ethics Be Invoked on Both Sides of Racism?

Robinson and Kipling, though on opposite sides of the argument surrounding slavery and imperialism, use similar tactics in their appeals to readers. In particular, both appeal to our ethics, but it is interesting to note that each author’s moral code is based on entirely different assumptions about race and its implications. Kipling assumes the superiority of whites and subsequent inferiority of other races to be fact, and Robinson assumes the equality of all men to be equally self-evident. This fundamental difference causes the rift between two potentially similar techniques.

“The White Man’s Burden” aims to invoke the idea of an ethical obligation to improve and advance the people overtaken through colonialism. If we were to ignore the racial distinctions in the poem, some of Kipling’s statements would likely sound positive to many of us. Kipling charges Americans “To veil the threat of terror” (11) and “To seek another’s profit/And work another’s gain” (15-16). Isolated, these sound incredibly similar to the charges given by leaders today. Kipling paints a selfless, even noble, picture of colonialism; he argues that men ought to “Have done with childish days” (50), to send the very best of the population to “serve” these lowly people and endure weariness for their sake. Many “good” people would advocate a similar moral obligation – that if there is something we can do to help someone, we simply ought to do it. If you could “Fill full the mouth of Famine/And bid the sickness cease,” (19-20), why wouldn’t you? Though reading this poem today from the perspective of equality invokes immediate thoughts of arrogant racism, Kipling advocates for imperialism not by directly promoting control or dominion, but by appealing to a sense of, albeit twisted, ethics.

“The Negro Girl” similarly seeks to invoke our moral compass, but Robinson uses an emotional appeal to illustrate her point. Her poem is filled with imagery and contains more direct statements dispersed throughout. She points directly to the hypocrisy of racial prejudice: “Does not the cheek which vaunts the roseate hue/Oft blush for crimes, that Ethiops never knew?” (59-60), and comments on the injustice it promotes: “Shall guiltless Slaves the Scourge of tyrants feel/And, e’en before their GOD! unheard, unpitied kneel.” There are several moments in which she appeals to the humanity in each of us and questions the meaning and significance of race, such as in lines 57-58: “Can features alienate the race -/Is there no kindred mind?” and 75-76: “He taught me in the Soul to find/No tint, as in the face”. This idea, that beneath our skin we each have hearts that bleed and souls that long, is what Robinson personifies through her narrative of Zelma and Draco. We watch the storm overtake the ship and sense their fear. We sense the desperation as Zelma cries out to the storm in lines 19-30, and in the despair of the last three lines, we understand the tragedy of their love. These things – fear, desperation, and love – are felt and understood by all people, regardless of race or culture. By appealing to these universal emotions, Robinson humanizes a group of people who were seen as less than.

Both of these pieces pull on our sense of justice and rightness in a surprisingly similar way. Robinson’s use of imagery and narrative add an additional emotional element, while Kipling’s more direct approach attempts to invoke a sense of duty and pride. Though based on fundamentally different philosophies, the poems of Robinson and Kipling attempt to appeal to the best in each of us.

Prospero – Villain or Vilified?

In the final act, Prospero is revealed to be a much fairer character than he originally appeared. Although he held the island’s visitors captive and certainly caused them some emotional distress with his magic shenanigans, he offers forgiveness in the end. In 5.1.149-153, Prospero unexpectedly offers an almost complete pardon of Antonio: “For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother would even infect my mouth, I do forgive they rankest fault, all of them, and require my dukedom of thee…” It’s clear that anger towards Antonio is justified, but Prospero only asks for the dukedom, which was truly his to take. He brushes off any wrongdoing of Alonso’s as a thing of the past in 5.1.236-238, and in response to Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano, simply has them return the clothing they stole and prepare for the night’s celebration. This seems to be light punishment for a murder plot. Prospero also offers his home for all to stay the night, and he frees Ariel as he promised, even telling him “I shall miss thee” (5.1.105). He gives up his magic after restoring his original position in the world, which also means giving up his power over Caliban, the spirits, and the king himself. Although he could have continued to exercise control and extract even more from these men, he only wishes to regain his life in Milan. Prospero was certainly manipulative; he organized an advantageous marriage for his daughter and controlled the shipwrecked men like puppets. Yet in the end, he only used his power to get what was rightfully his. What may have appeared to be unnecessary conspiring or selfish meddling proved to be a relatively moderate, thought-out plan. After considering the life that was taken not only from Prospero but also Miranda, any coldness that was displayed seems rather justified. Prospero’s treatment of his servants was probably characteristic of a man of his power, especially considering the hostility one would naturally feel after being stripped of one’s title and home. Any father would do his best to help his daughter find a happy marriage, which seems to be true in the case of Ferdinand and Miranda, and this choice is approved by Alonso in the end as well. Overall, the storm appears to have done little permanent harm, and it certainly did quite a bit of good for Prospero, even serving up a nice slice of humble pie for his enemies.