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'...this thing of darkness I

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Introduction

'...this thing of darkness I Acknowledge mine'. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of the relationship between Prospero and Caliban in 'The Tempest' and how it is presented in one or more productions you have seen. Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' is set on a small island between Tunis and Naples. The play is initially based around Prospero; once Duke of Milan, a loving father to Miranda and inhabitant of the island for the past twelve years, after being usurped by his scheming brother Antonio. When exploring the relationship between Prospero and Caliban, a 'whelp hag-born' living on the island when Prospero and Miranda first arrive, we must consider a number of aspects of Prospero and Caliban's relationship. It is important to look at the following points; Prospero's treatment of Caliban when first arriving on the island and his treatment during the play, Caliban's constant struggle for acknowledgement from both Prospero and Miranda, Caliban's plan to overthrow Prospero with Trinculo and Stephano and finally, Ariel; another creature living on the island who is also enslaved to Prospero-but in an entirely different way to Caliban. When Caliban first enters during Act 1 Scene 2, Prospero instantly uses much abusive language towards Caliban and describes him as a 'poisonous slave, got by the devil himself'. ...read more.

Middle

We know however, Caliban does not describe music in this way for acknowledgement, but because he simply does not know the word "music" and can only describe what he is able to hear and feel. When finally considering Ariel, it is important to compare the relationship between Ariel and Prospero to that of Caliban and Prospero. After releasing Ariel from Sycorax's 'cloven pine' twelve years previously, Prospero needs Ariel as much as Ariel needs Prospero and their relationship therefore is much more pleasant than that of Caliban and Prospero. During Act 1 Scene 2 when Ariel demands his 'liberty' from Prospero, it causes tension between the two characters. Prospero uses his power and authority over Ariel autonomously and it is apparent that although Prospero needs Ariel, Ariel stays under his close control. As Ariel is being admonished for demanding his premature freedom, Prospero introduces Caliban as a 'freckled whelp hag-born - not honoured with a human shape'. The audience can immediately see the diverse tone in language towards the two different characters. It becomes clear the relationships between Ariel and Prospero and Caliban and Prospero are extremely different due to dissimilar circumstances. ...read more.

Conclusion

For instance, at the beginning of the play, Caliban eats a raw egg in front of a roaring fire. Without dialogue, Jarman is able to create a disturbing scene for the audience, which introduces the many elements of madness throughout Jarman's film. The relationship between Prospero and Caliban is interpreted in two different ways during two productions. However, the anger and hatred is apparent in both and while Prospero evidently needs Ariel to complete his tasks and gather his enemies together, Prospero does not need Caliban and hence treats him with little respect. To conclude, the relationship between Prospero and Caliban is undoubtedly tense which is apparent to both the audience and Miranda-who also holds a grudge against the 'foul beast'. Prospero and Caliban's relationship is that of a traditional master and servant, but can also be lightly interpreted as human and animal. The relationship is tense due to Prospero initially taking the island from Caliban. Prospero has the power over Caliban through his magic and Caliban is apprehensive of Prospero because of this. Prospero exerts much power and authority over Caliban and it is clear their relationship is one of resentment. This is presented to the audience through Prospero's controlling and authoritive figure, his demanding voice and Caliban's self-abasement. Hayley Cook L63 ...read more.

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