Back to: The Tempest by William Shakespeare
In the play The Tempest, Alonso is the king of Naples and the father of Ferdinand. In the first scene in the play, when Alonso asks the mariners to put real efforts on the face of the storm, it reveals to us not much about him but we get to know that he is not supposed to be a grand character by Shakespeare.
Prospero while telling the history behind their exile to the island, reveals how he was cast out by his brother Antonio. His (Antonio’s) wrongful seizure of Prospero’s Dukedom was assisted and acknowledged by King Alonso, and it gives us the entire idea regarding the integrity of Alonso’s character.
His indulgence in such wrongful acts is perhaps balanced by the presence of Gonzalo as one of his honest and trusted advisers.
After the wreckage, when they have washed ashore, and do not find Ferdinand with them, Alonso believes that he must’ve drowned. He doesn’t show any kingly composure.
It is Gonzalo in entirety who keeps putting the ideal thoughts into him. When Gonzalo is pouring wisdom into him, Alonso reacts in a petty manner, he says, “you cram these words into mine ears against the stomach of my sense.”
One can notice, how easily and stubbornly, he sways (moves) between Antonio, Sebastian, and Gonzalo. Even though Antonio and Sebastian are in their real manner of thought which is villainy (wickedness), Alonso is unable to sense it.
As a ruler, it shows the lack of worldliness wisdom in him. When they are finally confronted by Prospero, Alonso doesn’t take time to feel his guilt. He is instantly aware of his sins regarding Prospero and says, “it did bass my trespass (sing the bass part to the song of my sin).”
When he finally finds Ferdinand, without any questioning, he accepts Miranda as his Queen. His inability to accept the wonder of the fact that his son is alive shows us the lack of proper contour in his personality. He is one of those Shakespearean characters who lack the ability to make up their minds and blow with the wind.