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Explore Shakespeares presentation of Caliban and Ariel. What does it tell us about the importance of freedom and imprisonment in the play?

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Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Caliban and Ariel. What does it tell us about the importance of freedom and imprisonment in the play? Shakespeare presents freedom and imprisonment in The Tempest through Prospero's power as we see this through his interaction with the other characters in the play, such as his slaves and even his own daughter and also his dominance of the island. Freedom is a very important part of the play, as everyone desires to have freedom in some way or the other this is why Shakespeare included this theme in the play. Seeing how hard the characters work to obtain freedom suggests its importance. This theme of freedom and imprisonment frequently shows itself throughout the play. Shakespeare portrays Caliban in this play to be a "poisonous slave" and "dull thing" as Prospero likes to call him. This introductory line tells us much about Caliban from the very start. We know that the powerful magician Prospero has enslaved him, and hates him, cursing and insulting Caliban. Shakespeare has created the character of Caliban with depth. He has done this by giving him two possible sides to interpret. In some ways he is a puzzle for the director to solve. Should he be a hardhearted monster who wants to kill his master or should he be played as mentally defective and misguided with human qualities a creature who we feel sympathetic towards? ...read more.


In this case, Ariel is an "airy spirit" who is promised his freedom by Prospero if his job is done well. His job was to entrance the visitors to the island under Prospero's control. We see evidence of Ariel being imprisoned by Prospero as he says," What Ariel! "My industrious servant, Ariel!" Shakespeare presents the master and servant relationship in this play, as we see how Prospero treats Ariel as his servant, and commands him orders to do, and Ariel follows Prospero's commands and this can also be compared to how Prospero treats Caliban in the play as well. This again can show how Ariel is imprisoned by Prospero on the island as he is like a servant subsequent to his orders. We also learn that Ariel was once the servant of Sycorax, a wicked sorceress who had imprisoned the spirit in a "cloven pine" for refusing to fulfill her "earthy and abhorr'd commands." Ariel remained trapped inside the tree for twelve years, crying out in pain. There is also the use of metaphor when stating 'thy groans did make wolves howl, and penetrate the breast of bear' in reference to Sycorax's imprisonment of Ariel. This connotes how much suffering Ariel went through whilst he was imprisoned by Sycorax at that time. ...read more.


As Ariel comes closer to his freedom, his demeanor becomes more confident and less submissive. He is becoming more independent, and thus stronger in character. Shakespeare presents freedom and imprisonment through Prospero himself, as he is stranded on the island with his daughter, Miranda. However with prospero, without being powerful, caring, and forgiving Prospero might not have ever gotten off of the island. Even though he must sacrifice his magic his daughters happiness is more important then his revenge. So he forgives his enemies. In the end Ariel is set free, Prospero regains his dukedom, Miranda and Ferdinand are getting married and everyone except Caliban got on the boatswains ship and headed home. Prospero gains his freedom from his magical powers at the end of the play (epilogue) and also from the political duties, when he's on the island as he says "no sovereignty", "all men idle". Shakespeare is trying to confirm that no matter what, some sort of hierarchy will be established. You will never have 'true' freedom from that. The language that Prospero uses in the epilogue suggests his freedom from his magical powers and at the end of his speech he asks for forgiveness from the audience. This can also show that he is being freed from the audience's condemnation of him as he imprisoned a lot of characters in the play and tried to take Gods place with his magical powers. ?? ?? ?? ?? Khadija Begum AS English coursework ...read more.

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