• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Caliban characterisation - The Tempest

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Caliban As the embodiment of the Jacobean view of foreigners as "savage", due to 18th century xenophobia, Caliban is depicted as being elemental, debased and an "unthinking bundle of primitive instinct"-suggesting his incapacity to make measured decisions as he has been isolated from western civilisation and society. His name can be seen as an anagram of "cannibal" which once again suggests his uncivilised and survivalist nature. As the legitimate ruler of the island the modern audience can realise the exploitation of the indigenous "monster of the isle" - a beast-like, unfeeling native. Caliban is usurped from his inherited rule, much like Prospero is overthrown by Alonso. Shakespeare uses a noun as a verb as Caliban says "sty me" to emphasise that he has been kept like an animal, an image constructed by the imperialist and omnipotent author. ...read more.

Middle

His diction is impregnated with images of black magic like the dark, connotative triple structure "toads, beetles, bats". Caliban is seen as being "earth"- an element, near the bottom of the great chain of being, whereas Ariel is seen as being light and celestial, "an airy spirit". Prospero, the tyrannical master of both creatures, calls his obedient servant "my quaint Ariel", juxtaposing him calling Caliban "thou poisonous slave" and exhibiting Shakespeare's methodology of using antithesis as a linguistic construction to emphasise conflict in drama by reflecting it in language. Shakespeare uses the possessive pronoun "my" to show that he sees Arial as a possession and his property. "Thou" is used by Shakespeare to exhibit power relations, showing that Propero is above Caliban in the social hierarchy. Contemporary issues and worries are used by Shakespeare to authenticate the play to the Jacobean audience; "poisonous", as well as "blister", are both reminiscent of the plague or black death which was array in this era. ...read more.

Conclusion

out as blank verse, generally used for the speech of noblemen and those residing in the upper echelons of society as opposed to the "uncontrolled, uncouth, and wild" Caliban. The idea of the "noble savage" is enhanced by Caliban's dream which, using Plato's ideas, suggests tht the real world is a shadow of the ideal. It is revealed that the "howling monster" has an appreciation for the beauty and magnitude of the island full of "sound, and sweet airs" - the alliterative sibilance mimicking a whisper. The haunting enchantment of the "hum" of the island and the gratification the "hag-seed" shows towards his home undermines that all indigenous natives are debased and defiled and illuminates that he is misunderstood, that the island nurtures him, not society. The island gave him "delight" and "hurt not" whereas he was constantly stung by the "urchin-shows" - devilish hedgehogs - or Prospero's servants, who were ordered to deliberately torture him. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level The Tempest section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Tempest essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Nature vs. Art in The Tempest

    3 star(s)

    Caliban, on the other hand, has no self-control. The rape of Miranda, his attempts to 'violate the virtue of [Prospero's] child' shows that he is beneath the level of those that can love, like Ferdinand and Miranda, and can merely hope to control his lust and raw sexuality.

  2. Why is Caliban such an interesting an important character in 'The Tempest' and how ...

    'sounds and sweet airs that delight and hurt not.' The speech shows Caliban's more human side because it reveals that he does take in the environment around him and can so be nurtured. As a director, I would have Caliban deliver these lines almost as a soliloquy at the front of the stage.

  1. Compare and contrast the ways in which the writers of The Tempest and Translations ...

    This shift is, again, displayed through the language he uses, and the way he is so much more disrespectful to Lancey at the end of the play than at the start. Though this is all very well, we have no way of actually knowing if the characters know themselves what

  2. Is Prospero a magnanimous ruler or an oppressive coloniser?

    Let us not forget that before Prospero came, Caliban ruled and roamed the island freely, he is now Prospero's slave and is treated harshly. When Prospero first came to the island they got on well together, but it all changed when Caliban tried to rape Miranda, and Prospero enslaved Caliban.

  1. Explore early-seventeenth century attitudes to the 'New World' in The Tempest.

    In The Tempest, Prospero and Miranda are a father and daughter who escape to an island after Prospero's brother Antonio usurped Prospero's title as Duke of Milan. Once on the new isle, Gonzalo, an old honest lord who had helped Prospero escape, immediately describes how he would run a colony, were he its leader.

  2. Original Writing - The Dad I thought I knew.

    peering past the slightly opened window and the creased lines in the pains of glass. The owls outside amongst the darkness of a bitterly cold night were hooting dramatically. Then it hit me. My hero was nothing more than an abusive two-faced brute. He could never be my hero anymore.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work