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

The Tempest - By the end of Act 3 Caliban has emerged both positively and negatively. Discuss…

Extracts from this document...


AS English Literature Assignment 1. The Tempest. By the end of Act 3 Caliban has emerged both positively and negatively. Discuss... The monster offspring of the deceased 'foul witch Sycorax', Caliban is a would-be rapist, thief and killer. Yet it's impossible not to like him. Maybe this is because it's easy to see a part of yourself in him: who wouldn't rather lie around in the sun than haul firewood and monotonous chores of its like? It is interesting to see that Shakespeare has created such a monstrous character in Caliban who lacks basic morals and represents most things negative and yet the audience are able to identify with him. Caliban is the only real native of the island to appear in the play. In his first speech to Prospero, Caliban insists that Prospero stole the island from him. Through his speech, Caliban suggests that his situation is much the same as Prospero's, whose brother usurped his dukedom. Prospero represents himself as being a victim of injustice working to right the wrongs that have been done to him however, his ideas of justice and injustice is somewhat hypocritical- for example, though he is furious with his brother for taking his power and sending him into exile, he has no qualms about taking over Caliban's island or about enslaving Ariel and Caliban in order to achieve his ends. ...read more.


The inhuman part of Caliban drives out the human part, the 'good nature', which is imposed on him. Caliban perhaps represents Shakespeare's interpretation of the New-World native. We know that Shakespeare turned to Montaigne's essay on Cannibalism. Using this essay as research material, Shakespeare would have been exposed to the ideologies of the New-World natives. He would have found that the natives have a Utopian government and sanction adultery. The latter observation is especially relevant to the Tempest. The practice of free love could provide an explanation as to why Caliban is not only unrepentant for his attempt on Miranda, but also his incapability of seeing that there is anything to repent for. If Shakespeare's making of Caliban is on the basis of this source or something similar, then it can be argued in Caliban's defence that such behaviour was of the norm to him; he was not taught that such behaviour was amoral and simply unacceptable in the western society. However, even if his actions are justifiable on the basis that he did not know any different, he does not gain any votes of sympathy from the audience as chastity was of great importance to Jacobeans and Elizabethans and is both socially and morally unacceptable now. So it can be concluded that, Prospero's attempt to educate and civilise him have only succeeded in corrupting him and therefore Caliban represents a striking failure of Prospero's art. Surprisingly, Caliban also mirrors and contrasts Ferdinand in certain ways. ...read more.


but, unexpectedly at the back end of this beautiful speech he results in spitting more curses; '...toads, beetles, bats light on you!' and the images are now animalist, reptiles of the low order, dark and earthy. There are far more negatives in proportion to the positives that we get from Caliban in the first three Acts. His character is seen at an all time low when Stefano and Trinculo offer him a drink and he, in gratitude and foolishness swears his allegiance to them. Caliban, at the point of offering to lick Stefano's shoes, has more resemblance to a fool than he does to Caliban: the poet. The audience, I believe, or at least I did, feel quite let down by his behaviour and how low he was willing to stoop to free himself of Prospero's enslavement, regardless of Prospero's treatment towards him. It seems that at this point he lacks compassion, dignity and grace. Caliban's swarthy appearance, his forced servitude, and his native status on the island have led many readers to interpret him as a symbol of the native cultures occupied and suppressed by the European colonial societies, which are represented through the power of Prospero. Whether or not one accepts this reading, Caliban remains one of the most intriguing and ambiguous minor characters in all of Shakespeare, a sensitive monster who allows himself to be transformed into a fool, primarily and largely by himself but also through the help of other characters. October 2003 Miss. Powell Nasima Begum 12B Pg 1 of 5 ...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

    What is your response to Shakespeare's presentation of Caliban in The Tempest?

    3 star(s)

    The use of the deadly sins suggests that Caliban truly does represent true evil and the lowest form. Reinforcing the idea that Caliban is true evil is his connection with Ariel. They both represent opposites and their metaphorical associations are earth and air.

  2. The Tempest- The Significance of the love story between Ferdinand and Miranda in the ...

    romantic but Miranda doesn't "beat about the bush", not because she's stupid but perhaps because she lacks common courtesy of how a woman was thought to be, "shy", and not as upfront, because she was not brought up in a society to learn these common attitudes of how women behave and speak.

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

    Caliban was also the only natural original habitant on the island before Prospero came to the island. "This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother, which thou tak'st from me" (Act 1, Scene 2, L 332) Caliban is a mysterious character as still to this date it is not known what type of creature he actually was.

  2. Exploring the theme of enslavement in The Tempest

    - Brian Vickers, 1993. In conclusion I feel that the relationship between Prospero and Caliban will never be the same as it once was, a mixture of disloyalty on Caliban's behalf and Prospero's colonializing the island has led to a serious lack of trust between the two characters.

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

    This scene shows the audience that Caliban isn't happy in servitude and is bitter and aggressive towards Prospero. This may explain why he acts in the animalistic way he does, as an act of rebellion. In act one scene two Caliban quotes, 'When thou camest first, thou strok'dst me and

  2. Compare the presentation of Ariel and Caliban in the play

    Iris, Ceres, Juno, Nymphs and Reapers. Ariel is a plot device that makes the story happen. Where as Caliban is seen as a comedy factor that is used in the sub-plot which mirrors the main plot. Ariel has a lot of power within the play compared to Caliban who has no power at all and is controlled by everyone.

  1. Free essay

    At the Opening of Act V of `The Tempest` Prospero decides to set aside ...

    emotional for the audience, and that will convince them Prospero is undeniably capable of being moved (just like Ariel was) by means of human emotion. An example of implicit guidance (on using stagecraft) given by Shakespeare, is when Prospero makes the speech renouncing his magic.

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

    Because Miranda has seen only one human being in the last twelve years (her father), Prospero has been able to construct Miranda's complete perception of reality by controlling her beliefs, her knowledge, and consequently her ignorance. Miranda never questions what Prospero teaches her, and even if she did, her circumstances

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