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Read the following extract from Act 4, Scene 1. How does it contribute to your view of the way in which the character of Caliban is presented?

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Introduction

Read the following extract from Act 4, Scene 1. How does it contribute to your view of the way in which the character of Caliban is presented? In the course of your answer: * Look closely at language, imagery and tone of the passage * Comment on what the passage suggests about Caliban's role and significance in the play Prospero's dark, earthy slave, frequently referred to as a monster by the other characters, Caliban, is the son of a witch-hag and the only real native of the island to appear in the play. He is an extremely complex figure, and he mirrors or parodies several other characters in the play. In his first speech to Prospero, Caliban insists that Prospero stole the island from him. Through this speech, Caliban suggests that his situation is much the same as Prospero's, whose brother usurped his dukedom. On the other hand, Caliban's desire for sovereignty of the island mirrors the lust for power that led Antonio to overthrow Prospero. Caliban's conspiracy with Stefano and Trinculo to murder Prospero mirrors Antonio and Sebastian's plot against Alonso, as well as Antonio and Alonso's original conspiracy against Prospero. This extract from Act 4, contributes very much to our view of the way Caliban is presented in the play. ...read more.

Middle

The word 'fairy' (line 3) that follows is also a reference to one of the main themes of the play; magic. 'I do smell all horse-piss,' is a use of language that contributes to the theme of comedy. The scatological humour is definitely not what is expected of a court jester, and more expected of a lower social class 'devil.' Caliban does not speak in language as crude as this, and this brings together a contrast which says a lot about Caliban. Although Caliban's appearance may be that of a monster, he has sense and morality within him to realise the right way to speak. Caliban says 'good my lord,' and the paired assonance adds an effective technique. The repetition of the 'ood' sound, adds a harsh feeling about the language, and can tell the reader about the way Caliban is speaking here. The following line (11) is an iambic pentameter and be 'patient for the prize' also incorporates an indirect use of alliteration, because there are two simultaneous 'p' sound made by the iambic pentameter; 'patient' 'prize' 'Alls hushed as midnight yet' is a line that can be visualized as a very softly spoken line, and the words hushed and midnight, tell the audience that it's very quite and dark, which suggests peacefulness and tranquillity, as well as obscurity. ...read more.

Conclusion

Quite ironically, Caliban is an anagram of cannibal, which is somewhat amusing since he speaks about the murder of Prospero. Caliban becomes a parody of himself. In his first speech to Prospero, he regretfully reminds the magician of how he showed him all the ins and outs of the island when Prospero first arrived. Only a few scenes later, however, we see Caliban drunk and fawning before a new magical being in his life: Stefano and his bottle of liquor. Soon, Caliban begs to show Stefano the island and even asks to lick his shoe. Caliban repeats the mistakes he claims to curse. In his final act of rebellion, he is once more entirely subdued by Prospero in the most petty way-he is dunked in a stinking bog and ordered to clean up Prospero's cell in preparation for dinner. Despite his savage demeanor and grotesque appearance, however, Caliban has a nobler, more sensitive side that the audience is only allowed to glimpse briefly, and which Prospero and Miranda do not acknowledge at all. His beautiful speeches about his island home provide some of the most affecting imagery in the play, reminding the audience that Caliban really did occupy the island before Prospero came, and that he may be right in thinking his enslavement to be monstrously unjust ?? ?? ?? ?? Mikey Holder 04/07/2007 The Tempest -1- ...read more.

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