WHERE THE TEMPEST MEETS FORGIVENESS: Should Mercy Be in the Nature of Human Beings?



While frowned upon, I am pasting a block quote from Act 5, scene 1. I think it is important to see the actual words said and dialogue between Ariel and Prospero.

The king,
His brother and yours, abide all three distracted
And the remainder mourning over them,  
Brimful of sorrow and dismay; but chiefly
Him that you term’d, sir, ‘The good old lord Gonzalo;’
His tears run down his beard, like winter’s drops
From eaves of reeds. Your charm so strongly works ’em
That if you now beheld them, your affections  
Would become tender. 
Dost thou think so, spirit? 
Mine would, sir, were I human. 
And mine shall.
Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling  
Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,
One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,
Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?


Here Ariel converses with Prospero and tells the reader that mercy should be an underlying trait each human being possesses, or rather be a part of the nature of human beings. However, we know that this is not always the case. Ariel here says that if he were human he would be able to understand and feel tenderness and mercy. Right after Ariel tells us that he imagines he could feel some sort of compassion, he makes a stab at Prospero’s humanity. Since we know that forgiveness is not always first nature and that mercy is not always given, it raises the question; “Is it more human to seek vengeance, or forgive?” (via shmoop) We have analyzed lots of different ways that forgiveness arises, or does arise and after blog posts it becomes evident that would forgiveness be the best way to treat your enemies? Most of the times, we,  as humans, seek vengeance and revenge on an action or person that has put us in a state of denial or anger. Forgiveness, most times, is second nature, despite the reputation of human kind – that of kindness. Here, the root of forgiveness comes from Prospero’s past and while we never clearly see him forgive the people who have hurt him, we know he does forgive. 



photo via: wholelivingdaily.wholeliving.com