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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Q1. How does Shakespeare present Prospero's relationship with Ariel and Caliban throughout the course of the play? Look at the language used when speaking to, and of each other. Do you think the dynamics of the relationships support a colonialist reading, or is this incidental? The time at which Shakespeare wrote The Tempest saw a new dawn in sea travel. It was written in 1611, two years after the ill-fated journey of the Sea Adventure to Virginia. This early attempt a colonisation was doubtless an influence Shakespeare's storyline in The Tempest. It is unlikely that Shakespeare consciously included this colonial theme in his writing, as there is only circumstantial evidence of a colonialist reading. However, we can further explore this theme by looking at the relationships of Prospero, the supposed 'colonist', with Ariel and Caliban, the assumed natives. The relationship between Prospero and his deformed slave is obviously a tempestuous one. Caliban is an unusual character in that he claims ownership of an island he may not be native to. He quite obviously resents Prospero's mastery of the island and indeed himself. Prospero has his own grievances with Caliban, who attempted to rape his daughter Miranda. ...read more.

Middle

This he realises by the play's conclusion. Prospero's other poignant relationship is that with Ariel - the 'airy' spirit. The circumstances surrounding Ariel's entrapment on the island are uncertain. He may very well be a native himself - and in this case the true claimant to the island. But, some doubt does surround this, Ariel could very well have journeyed to the island with Sycorax the witch under her command. We certainly know that he was her slave before his imprisonment and her death. Ariel's relationship with Prospero is quite different to that of Prospero and Caliban. In this affiliation, there is a certain degree of respect that lacks in the master-slave relationship of Prospero and Caliban. Caliban is a self-accepted underdog. He realises that he is different from others and therefore can never be more than a sideshow attraction. This can be seen clearly on a number of occasions, for example, when he offers himself to Stephano the drunken butler as a servant. We could also say that Caliban is not acting as the underdog in this situation and that he is actually quite scheming. Caliban is allowing Stephano to think he is the leader, but really he has a grander design. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is likely that Shakespeare read these texts, if so, it is doubtless that he was greatly influenced by them when writing the Tempest. The views of the critics are very influential on our own interpretation of The Tempest with reference to colonialism. Personally, I think that it is unimportant. In my opinion, any comments it may seem that Shakespeare made on the subject are incidental. As aforementioned, England was not a major colonial player at the beginning of the century and Shakespeare was not completely familiar with all of the facts about the New World and the people who inhabited it. However, Spain had established colonies in South America many years before and the Spanish viewed the British colonies as a threat to their supremacy in the New World. How much Shakespeare knew about the Spanish colonisations is vague, but as Shakespeare himself was British it is doubtful he knew much. Prospero's treatment of the island residents could be seen as proof, but I am not so sure. Prospero does treat Caliban and Ariel with needless cruelty, but this behaviour is found all over the world even today. So, The Tempest could be a comment on colonialism, but it could just as easily be a comment on the class system of any country in the world, Italian politics or anything else for that matter. Gemma Dale Page 1 5/8/2007 ...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

    How does Shakespeare ensure that the theme of usurpation and its consequences runs throughout ...

    3 star(s)

    as the Duke of Milan and asks for forgiveness, he also gives Prospero back the control of Milan to Prospero so that Milan would no longer have to bow down to Naples. Sebastian or Antonio does not threaten Prospero for he knows of their plot to usurp the King and

  2. Discuss the presentation and significance of Caliban in 'The Tempest'

    "If I can recover him and keep him tame, and get to Naples with him" (Act 2, Scene 2, L68)

  1. Discuss the character of Caliban and his relationship with Prospero

    However greed is also in his nature. When he wants something he becomes irrational and will do anything to get it. Caliban says he would "swear upon that bottle to be thy true subject". He shows that he is being truthful because he swears on something, which he believes to be godly, "the liquor is not earthly".

  2. Explore the relationship between servants and masters in 'The Tempest'.

    He drops to his knees in front of Stefano and begs him to take him under his command. "I do adore thee." "Come swear to that! Kiss the book." "I'll show thee every fertile inch o'th'island. And I will kiss thy foot - I prithee be my god."

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

    Caliban reacts so willingly to Stephano being his master (unlike Prospero) because Stephano offers comfort in a friend, a new life and liquor. Stephano also plots to kill Prospero, which Caliban has thought about for years but it was never realisable to him.

  2. Presentation of Prospero in the Tempest

    Shakespeare presents Prospero with several roles and characteristics and it is clear that he is able to achieve many of theses roles through both his leadership capabilities and magic. On the one hand we are able to view Prospero as a vengeful leader, whose desire to get revenge, with the

  1. Character study of Prospero

    I think overall "The man" side to Prospero's character is his weakest aspect. The final aspect of Prospero's is the aspect of "master of slaves." In this aspect we learn about Prospero's relationship with both Ariel and Caliban. There are many positive and negative aspects to his relationship with each character.

  2. How does Shakespeare present Caliban in TheTempest ?

    you feeling sorry for him and therefore forgiving him for his bad behaviour such as the attempted rape of Miranda because of the way he is poorly treated.

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