Prospero has two very obvious sides. He has a very compassionate side where he helps people and tries to make the island a better place to live, and his darker evil side where he torments people. It could be argued he’s only compassionate to help him self but he could only behave evilly for an over all good. When Prospero is with Miranda he displays all of the compassionate characteristics of his personality. He speaks to Miranda very genteelly but sometimes patronizingly as is she is still a young child. He has kept the past from his daughter.
This could be seen as protecting her, but he waits until she is in early childhood to tell her “thy father is the Duke of Milan. ” This could show that’s he’s a bit of a control freak as he is sheltering her and denying her knowledge of her past. By keeping her in the dark he could be protecting her from what went on as he might still think of her as a young child as she was when they landed on the island. His sheltering could also be for his own good. If Miranda didn’t know what had gone on she couldn’t ask questions with answers that would make Prospero show his true colours. By sheltering Miranda he could protect himself.
It is not clear if Prospero intentions where for his own good or for the good of his daughter. When the royal ship was wrecked Ferdinand landed near to Prospero cell. Prospero wants Miranda and Ferdinand to fall in love so that his family will be returned to power. To make this happen he manipulates Miranda and Ferdinand by playing them off against each other. He makes them talking to each other forbidden knowing that Miranda will talk to Ferdinand just to defy her father. This means Prospero gets his way. Its this defiance on Miranda part that means Prospero cant force them together as they will only rebel apart.
He has to try to keep them a way from each other to make them rebel together. Prospero spies on them to keep a track on how the lovers come together. All though Prospero is manipulating Miranda and Ferdinand he is assuring that Ferdinand is good enough for his daughter. By keeping them apart he is testing the bound between them. He is also securing peace between Milan and Naples in the future. When Prospero first landed on the island all he had were a few provisions that were put on the ship with him. He meets Caliban and instantly takes control of him.
As a learned and powerful man he is obviously Caliban superior yet he shows him kindness by teaching him how to speak and how to be a more civilized person. This might be considered as an act of altruism but is more likely to be self-preservation. With out Caliban to show Prospero the “qualities of the isle” like fresh springs he wouldn’t have been able to survive. In taking control of the island he is pushing Caliban out of control, the exact same thing that happened to him in Milan. This shows Prospero has double standards. Its ok for him to take over form someone who is inferior but didn’t like it when some one pushed him out of control.
In act two scene two it is clear to see that after Caliban has helps Prospero to survive on the island Prospero enslaves him. Not only has he enslaved him he tortures and torments him to such an extent that when Caliban sees someone new, for example Stephano and Trinculo, he assumes that they are sent by Prospero to torment him ” do not torment me, prithee; ill bring my wood home faster. ” This shows how Caliban is afraid of the man he helped to survive on the island that is technically belongs to Caliban. Caliban first words in the play are curses directed at Prospero. “… With raven feather from unwholesome fen drop on you…