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What do you think Shakespeare was trying to achieve through the characterisation of Caliban?

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What do you think Shakespeare was trying to achieve through the characterisation of Caliban? The character of Caliban is a very complex one. A number of interpretations can be and have been made about Caliban's character and what Shakespeare was trying to show. I believe that Shakespeare wanted to present Caliban as a native who was being corrupted by a "civilised" society. During Shakespeare's time there was a great deal of discovery of new countries around the World. With the new discoveries came new colonies and the general feeling about the people they found in these colonies was that they were savages and a lot of them Cannibals as well. I believe Shakespeare was trying to represent these new discovered savages in Caliban; another thing that points is the anagram of Cannibal which almost fits Caliban's name. As well as people who felt that these people were savages, there were those who believed that they were just of a more simple existence. ...read more.


However the question is also asked whether it is not just Caliban doing what he believes he is supposed to, trying to mate in order to produce offspring. This animal characteristic is just one of a few that come up throughout the play, the physical characteristics of Caliban also seem to be representative of an animal figure. Caliban is described as a "tortoise", "fish", and a "beast". Unfortunately all of these descriptions are spoken by characters who are unkind towards Caliban, and we never come across somebody who has something nice to say about him. Therefore the descriptions might be biased against him. However if these descriptions are really what he looks like, then he is likely to be very ugly and I believe hunch backed to represent a "tortoise". He might also be deformed in the face to take the shape of a fish and all in all have a figure very dissimilar to a man's. On the other hand if we don't take any of these descriptions into consideration, then he might be represented just as a normal man. ...read more.


Caliban, unfortunately does not become devoted to these new men for the right reason, he tries the "celestial liquor" that they have and is instantaneously devoted to them. Shakespeare is showing another problem of the colonisation that went on when he was writing his play: the natives were easily hooked on things they knew nothing of, one thing was alcohol. Caliban would never have tried anything like this liquor before and so he would immediately be devoted to its feeling and praise the people that gave it him. Caliban is weak and wants a way to get rid of Prospero, this seems like a perfect opportunity by using the "brave god" to defeat Prospero. The big question that comes from this part of the play is why Caliban, who wants freedom from Prospero, says he will now devote himself to them and Stephano will become the new leader. I think that Shakespeare is pointing out that once these tribes have been controlled, they no longer know how to live in freedom. So when Caliban believes he can defeat Prospero he suddenly gets much more confident... ...read more.

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