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Explore the roles of Ariel and Caliban in The Tempest.

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Introduction

Explore the roles of Ariel and Caliban in The Tempest The Tempest is a play written by William Shakespeare and is based on an event that actually happened in 1609. A great storm engulfed the flagship of nine ships that had set out to establish the colony of Virginia. This ship was driven against Bermuda and everyone mourned over the loss of 150 people. However the colonists survived and the following year the ships reached Virginia. Rebellion occurred on the island just like in the play: Caliban: ' Having first seized his books, or with a log Batter his skull, or paunch him with a stake', This sub-plot of the play expresses Caliban's role in the Tempest of how he up sets the normal balance of power. Caliban tries to upset the 'master-slave' relationship he has with Prospero, as he believes the island was stolen from him. However by breaking his relationship with Prospero he creates a new one with Triculo, and hence is still a slave. The Tempest is a tragicomedy, because there is lots of potential for tragedy. This is important for the theme of master-servant relationships, as it shows the two different roles Caliban's character performs. ...read more.

Middle

Caliban maybe showed as a 'base' character but he appreciates beauty, and hence is given by Shakespeare some of the best lines in the play: Caliban: ' Sometimes a thousand twanging instruments Will hum about....... I cried to dream again' This oral imagery is a 'dream like' and shows us that Caliban has changed during the course of the play. I noticed the speech is very dream like by the fact there is 11 syllables instead of the usual number. I believe Caliban has changed over the play as at the beginning we regarded him as evil because he raped Miranda, but if you compare this to Act 4 Scene 1 we portray Caliban more sympathetically. Ariel's main role in the Tempest is to be a slave to prospero and although Caliban upsets power of his own accord, Ariel is forced to: Prospero: 'Thou my slave, as thou report'st thyself' Ariel feels obliged to work for Prospero, as he set her free from the imprisonment the witch Sycorax forced on her. Ariel is different from Caliban, as she has no choice when she is freed. However Ariel yearns for freedom but is kept in line by Prospero: Prospero: ' doust thou forget From what a torment I did free thee' Prospero uses his influence over Ariel to make her perform near impossible feats like when she created the tempest. ...read more.

Conclusion

While Caliban is used alone to explore the theme of colonialism. Ariel's role in the play maybe less significant compared to Caliban's, but she is still vital as she performs all tasks magical. Caliban's role throughout the play varies, as he is a victim a savage a servant a contrast and a noble savage. Caliban is shown as a victim as he is forced into slavery when a ruthless exploiter takes over Caliban's island, but he is a savage due to his violent and vindictive nature when he plots against Prospero. Caliban is a slave as he exchanges one master for another and wants to serve as a foot licker. Unlike Ariel, Caliban's role is to act as a contrast to other characters, as he has natural violence when he plots against Prospero while Antonio shows civilised evil as he tries to kill the King. Caliban's role as a noble savage shows us he loves the island, and his language tells us the most haunting poetry in the play. Ariel's roles are to provide prospero with magical powers but I believe she also teaches him compassion and this hence allows him to forgive his enemies. The characters Caliban and Ariel can be viewed in many ways and hence their roles are too profound to be understood properly by just reading the Tempest. By Steven Barker ...read more.

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