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The Tempest

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Introduction

The Tempest 'The Tempest' was Shakespeare's last major play and is partly based on a true story about a ship called 'The Seaventure' which set sail for America in 1609. However, the ship was blown off course by a storm and ended up in Bermuda. This was the time when people were just beginning to explore the world and Bermuda was thought to be inhabited by spirits, demons and monsters. Shakespeare used the disaster of 'The Seaventure' as a starting point for his play and incorporated the beliefs of the people in his play. 'The Tempest' explores the 17th Century myths and colonisation. Caliban is a character in the play and resembles both of these ideas, he represents the new ethnic groups, with his mother being a witch and worshipping a Patagonian God, which also resembles new religion. Caliban also represents the way natives were treated; he is treated badly throughout the play. This represents the way natives were treated by the conquering. Westerners. This essay will explore how Shakespeare presents Caliban and whether he is merely just a savage or whether he is a noble savage. One way in which Caliban shows he may be just a savage is through his poor response to education. ...read more.

Middle

gave it to him, and this reasoning and arguing his case is what shows nobility in Caliban. Another way in which Caliban shows he may be a noble savage is through his sensitivity to the island, he says "sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not" this shows that Caliban lives in harmony with the island and this differentiates him from an animal. An animal would live on the island but wouldn't appreciate it, whereas Caliban appreciates the island and this shows that he may be a noble savage. Caliban shows he may be a noble savage through his self-awareness shown when cursing Miranda for teaching him how to swear. He says to Miranda "you taught me language, and my profit on't is I know how to curse. This again differentiates Caliban from an animal because you could teach a parrot to curse and it would just keep repeating what you taught it without really knowing what it means, but Caliban curses Miranda and knows that what he is saying is offensive and it is this self-awareness that shows he may be a noble savage. Another way in which Caliban shows he may be a noble savage is when his behaviour is compared with Trinculo, Stephano and Antonio. ...read more.

Conclusion

The audience might feel sorry for Caliban because he has only seen two women so he does not know what the majority of women are like. His experiences are very limited and he might have trouble interacting with other women. Caliban curses Prospero a lot in the play and Caliban's curses are a powerful example of savagery and this shows that Caliban may be just a savage. However, Caliban's more poetic speeches, such as his "isle is full of noises" speech shows that he has learned to use language properly and that he knows when and how to use it correctly and this shows that Caliban may have aspects of nobility within him. To conclude, there is no easy answer to the question as to whether Caliban is a noble savage or just a savage. Caliban shows aspects of savagery, with his attempt to rape Miranda and the fact that he curses a lot. He also shows that he is noble through his poetic speeches and self-awareness. I don't think Shakespeare makes it simple to chose between the two types of savage because he is trying to say that although foreigners seem like bad people, on the inside they are actually nice people that are noble. In my opinion I think that Caliban is a savage but also shows some aspects of nobility. Sam Chapman 10A Sam Chapman- 10A- The Tempest ...read more.

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