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How does Shakespeare present Caliban in TheTempest ?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare present Caliban in 'The Tempest'? Caliban is very important to The Tempest. He is as a prominent link between the audience and play. Elizabethan theatre was more like a football match that theatre, as we know it today. There were raucous crowds who would have particularly liked having a monster they could jeer at. Therefore Caliban would have been a central character to the lower class character, as they could feel superior to him in a very class determined society. This would have added to the visual element of the play. 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 of should he be mentally defective and miss-guided with human qualities who we feel sympathetic towards? ...read more.

Middle

Today we are very aware of people who commit anti-social acts are often abused and emotionally damaged. This concept makes it easier for us to forgive them. Consequently as an audience we are more likely to sympathise with Caliban than perhaps an Elizabethan audience who may have preferred the violent, beastly portrayal. Caliban is a great theatrical device. Shakespeare uses him to inject humour into the play. In the scene in which he meets Stephano and Trinculo we have a classic drunk scene, which is almost, slap stick comedy. It provides a comic relief from the main action of the play. Shakespeare has used similar devices in his other plays. Caliban however is slightly different and more vital to the play as a whole. Although similarities can be drawn between him and Puck from 'A mid summers night's dream'. Shakespeare gives Caliban several long speeches this is very unusual as low status characters are generally given shorter lines. ...read more.

Conclusion

He could be portrayed as being hated by Prospero this could be because Prospero may be jealous of Caliban as he can be excused for living so freely and uncivilisedly as he has not been brought up with human culture and qualities. The language that is used by Caliban is generally of lower standard of that of the other characters. Most of his lines are capable of being sympathetic towards him and angry monstrous. To conclude the plat Shakespeare explains the ending through prospero. The audience is informed of what is going to happen to the characters with a denouement. However Shakespeare fails to explain what is to happen to Caliban. In Act 5, scene 1 Prospero admits that he has been responsible for what he has become. Caliban on the other hand admits he has been bad and will now 'seek for grace'. It is then left to your imagination to decide what is to happen to him. The most probable explanation that the audience assume is that he is left on the island. ...read more.

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