Comparison of the Tempest and Forbidden Planet
Prof. B. Johnson
8 February, 2010
Morbius’ Fatal Folly
As pointed out by Merrell Knighten in his essay called The Triple Paternity of Forbidden Planet, the main difference between Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the 1956 science fiction adaptation Forbidden Planet (referred to as FP) is the use and control of power. In The Tempest, Prospero knows what power he holds through the use of his books and spells, and ultimately uses these powers to restore order to the island. However, in forbidden Planet, Morbius’ powers are unknown to him and ultimately lead to his demise. This essay will show how Morbius may be considered a more disastrous character than Prospero due to his lack of realization of the power which
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The similarities between the two lowly characters come in the form of their respective masters. Caliban is used by Prospero to perform remedial tasks around the island, all of which are direct orders which Caliban reluctantly follows in fear of Prospero’s magic, “[Caliban] must obey. [Prospero’s] art is of such pow’r / It would control [Caliban’s] dam’s god, Setebos, / And make a vassal of him” (Shakespeare, 1.2.373-75). Morbius’ Id-monster is also a tool used to perform his will except that it is his unconscious mind which sets the monster loose. It is pointed out in the film that Morbius’ Id-monster performed his will in slaughtering the other members of his expedition. It was made clear that the others wanted to return to Earth with the knowledge of a lost civilization on the planet Altair 4, but Morbius’ subconscious created a beast which, through the extremely vast power of the Krel technology, took form and killed the other members of the expedition. It is evident that both the lowly characters serve the same purpose, whether it is known or unknown to their respective master. The last main influences of FP, as pointed out by Knighten are its multiple parentages. The film draws on two outside influences, or parentages, to help adapt The Tempest into FP. Both Freudian psychology and the science fiction genre were used to help shape FP.