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

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Introduction

´╗┐This document was downloaded from Coursework.Info - The UK's Coursework Database - http://www.coursework.info/ What is your response to Shakespeare?s presentation of Caliban in The Tempest? Caliban?s role in the play is difficult to define as he is not the key protagonist and does not directly encourage the conclusion of the play. Caliban has many small but essential functions; one of which is to create comic relief in his drunken trio with Trinculo and Stephano. He also creates contrasts with other characters, such as Caliban?s association with the ?earth? and evil magic; this also contributes to the fantasy genre of the play. There are suggestions in The Tempest that could possibly indicate the character of Caliban. His name could be an anagram of ?canibal? as was spelt in Shakespeare?s day. If we consider the definition of cannibal it implies that Caliban is a savage flesh eating monster. It could also refer to ?Cariban? and stories of the Carib Indians which also give us an insight into seventeenth century racial attitudes. The Carib Indians were assumed to be ferocious with an infamous appetite for human flesh, again relating to the idea of a cannibal. ...read more.

Middle

But at the end of the play Caliban is able to learn from his mistakes ?I?ll be wise hereafter and seek for grace? and admits he was foolish. The audience is made to see that Caliban gets something in return. The English Review (February 2000) states that ?the problem for the leaders of the Victorian British Empire was trying to understand why Caliban isn?t actually more grateful to his master for all he has done.? One can argue that Caliban was more subservient than co-operative. However, Caliban illustrates considerable intelligence. When he befriended Prospero, he acknowledges that ?You taught me language? He claims that he only knows ?how to curse? but this I believe is not entirely true. In my opinion, Caliban has some of the most sensitive and passionate lines in the play, ?Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not?. The imagery used by Shakespeare shows that Caliban is more tuned to nature and his island. It is very clear that Caliban has a sensitive side. Shakespeare?s alliteration of the ?s? sounds create a soft and sensual feel. Another indication of this is when Caliban learns to possess one of the most significant traits of intelligence: versed speech. ...read more.

Conclusion

But, one can argue that his true intention is not to kill Prospero, but for his island to be returned to which he believes belongs rightly to him. Although he is punished by Prospero, it does not affect his use of language by using the ?thou? form which is acceptable for equals, Miranda is Caliban's superior too and this could also be another reason for his hostility. It is inevitable that Caliban would become "bad", and turns against his master, also because this play was written in a time when human rights and ethnic tolerance did not exist. In conclusion, I believe that although Caliban is, physically and technically a monster "begot from human form", he is the victim of nature and nurture. There are clear arguments to whether Caliban is ?good? or ?bad? in my opinion; Shakespeare has presented him in both senses. His anger and violence is evident when he tries to rape Miranda and plots against Prospero. On the other hand, this could be seen as his attempt to get what is truly his. His poetic language also infers to this idea and is solid evidence that Caliban is not entirely ?bad?. Cara NahaulThis document was downloaded from Coursework.Info - The UK's Coursework Database - http://www.coursework.info/ ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This essay shows textual knowledge and understanding and is, for the most part, focused on the essay question. However, it would benefit from a tighter structure as it becomes repetitive in places. Also, when quotes are used, analysis is required, that is, an explanation of how the quote proves the point.

Marked by teacher Roz Shipway 02/07/2012

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