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

Explore the roles of Ariel and Caliban in The Tempest.

Extracts from this document...


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 one hundred and fifty people. However the colonists survived and the following year the ships reached Virginia. Ariel is Prospero's willing servant. Ariel uses magic to perform tasks and hence is believed by people to be a part of Prospero's imagination. Although Caliban is similar to Ariel by the fact he is slave, his roles vary greatly from completing physical tasks for his master to being a victim of colonization. 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. ...read more.


This both prevents prospero from the indignity of ever actually conjuring, and endows Ariel with great powers and responsibility. Prospero seems to love Ariel as he speaks to him affectionately: 'Brave spirit' 'delicate Ariel' However Prospero's affection soon turns to anger when Ariel asks for his freedom. Prospero turns to Ariel abusing him and threatening to punish him. Ariel apologises and promises to be good in the future. I believe their relationship is more father and child then that of a master and slave. When Prospero is angry, Ariel becomes sullen and apologetic. Assuming this a father child relationship, Prospero is an old fashioned father, expecting instant obedience and punishing any disobedience. Ariel role in the play is to work for Prospero and she does this with her magical powers of changing shape: Prospero: 'go make thyself like a nymph o' the sea' In Jacobean England everyone knew most of the ancient myths and so Shakespeare includes these in his plays. In Greek myths nymphs were the personification of various nature objects like rivers, trees or lakes. This shows the supernatural powers that Ariel has as she uses it when Prospero asks. ...read more.


Unlike Caliban, Ariel plays the role of the willing servant, in order to get what he wants. Ariel and Prospero are affectionate towards each other, but this does not hide the fact that Ariel is Prospero's slave. His manner being happy and eager to please reflects his childish nature. I believe Ariel and Prospero reflect father child relationship, as when Prospero is affectionate, Ariel is happy and eager to please. Unlike Ariel Caliban's role is to act as a contrast to the other characters, as he has a 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. In conclusion Ariel and Caliban are similar yet contrasting characters Shakespeare uses them together to reinforce the theme of master servant relationship to the audience. While Caliban is used only to reinforce theme of colonialism, Ariel's role in the play maybe less significant to Calibans, but she is still vital to the plot. By Steven Barker ...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)

    How green!' Gonzalo believes that 'here is everything advantageous to life.' Gonzalo also appears to have an element of the 'untamed' in him - he states that if he were to have charge of the island, there would be no 'use of service', 'contract, succession, Bourn, bound of land, tilth,

  2. Shakespeares 'The Tempest' as a Study of Colonialism.

    the play, then we need to be able to account for such an important part of it (and for Prospero's "release" of Ariel from imprisonment in nature). We cannot simply ignore such points because they don't fit. For that reason, it may be significant that political treatments of the Tempest

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

    for many years he still wants to kill him. He also worships his new master almost at once, totally forgetting that Prospero and Miranda exist. Caliban's plot is more reasonable, whereas Antonio's is pure evil, but on both accounts there is a distinct lack of guilt.

  2. How does William Shakespeare's The Tempest reflect society at the time?

    body of the play, these are the ideas that he was unable to grasp. However, it is uncertain if this is to be true, it is fair to say that Shakespeare held a keen interest into the world of magic and the arts and expressed his views and society's views in his plays.

  1. How does Shakespeare present Prospero's relationship with Ariel and Caliban throughout the course of ...

    (2, 2, 1-3) Despite all of this, by the play's climax, Prospero has acknowledged Caliban as more than a servant. Prospero has to concede that Caliban is his responsibility and that he is also a personification of the darkness in his own personality, "...This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine."

  2. Consider how the language used by Shakespeare explores the theme of service versus freedom ...

    As a result, even though Ariel has served Prospero faultlessly and rightfully deserves freedom, the spirit still feels indebted to Prospero. To make matters worse, Prospero threatens, "If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak,/ and peg thee in his knotty entrails, till/ Thou hast howl'd away twelve winters.

  1. "The role of the teacher can often be a negative one" discuss…

    Hugh's character is didactic, he has sacrificed the public for the private and instead of going to war, and he chooses instead to attend to his family. Like Prospero he is a moral and spiritual teacher. There is a shift in the reader's perception of Hugh.

  2. Explore Shakespeares presentation of Caliban and Ariel. What does it tell us about the ...

    Conversely, we realize that as well as freedom, it also suggests his entrapment on the island. The rhyming scheme poses his limitations to how much freedom he actually has on the island. Within 'The Tempest' there are obvious social implications regarding the hierarchy, with the representations of characters such as Caliban and Prospero.

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