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Caliban is often regarded as a complex character. Choose two scenes from the play ‘The Tempest’ in which he appears and discuss how Shakespeare reveals to an audience, the complexities of Caliban’s character.

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Jennifer Pennington Caliban is often regarded as a complex character. Choose two scenes from the play 'The Tempest' in which he appears and discuss how Shakespeare reveals to an audience, the complexities of Caliban's character. William Shakespeare's play 'The Tempest' was thought to be one of his last completed pieces and conveys a lot of his own thoughts and emotions. The approximate date of when the play was written is 1611. There is no direct source for the founding of the play but there are some similarities in a German play called 'Comedia von der schonen Sidece' which told the story of a Prince was had a spirit assistant and had an only daughter who fell in love with the son of his enemy. It is known that stories of magicians with only daughters are common in fairy tales. The Bermuda shipwreck happened around the time Shakespeare wrote 'The Tempest' so some of his ideas may have developed from this. The idea of Caliban may have come from tales of sailors about savage beasts. 'The Tempest' is a mystical drama full of magic, romance and disaster ending happily like a fairy tale. The story is about a magician named prospero who is taken from his dukedom in Milan and shipwrecked on a Island with his only daughter Miranda. ...read more.


When thou cam'st first Thou strok'dst me, and made much of me' Prospero treated Caliban as a pet when he first arrived on the Island and gave Caliban wine to make him drunk so he would show all the wonders of the island to Prosper. Caliban is a very gullible creature. The audience would recognise this because he received a small amount of kindness and let his guard down. This is one of the complexities of Caliban's character. As a result of his vulnerability his Island was taken from him. This fact is extremely ironic because Prospero had his dukedom taken from him and he took away Caliban's island which again creates sympathy for Caliban's character. Although vulnerable he is also venomous which creates a love/hate feeling from the audience. When he speaks Caliban talks in verse which represents the civilised man in him but he also curses a lot which shows his venomous nature. 'all the charms Of Sycorax : toads, beetles, bats, light on you' This way of speaking Caliban would have inherited from his mother again showing that he is evil. Prospero declares that the breakdown in the relationship between him and Caliban was when Caliban attempted to rape Miranda. 'till thou dist seek to violate The honour of my child' The language of the words here indicates the serenity of the action and the inhumane thing about this is Caliban is not apologetic for his actions. ...read more.


He is a primitive character and although he can speak in an intelligent way he is still very superstitious and believes in gods of the sky and moon. This is also a way that Shakespeare reveals Caliban's character, through his personality. In some sense he is stupid because he makes lowly people into great god's and is prepared to worship Trinculor and Stephano. He misjudges these characters. 'I will kiss thy foot: I prithee be my god.' Caliban is called 'a most ridiculous monster' Which of course is true. During his stupidity he doesn't forget his hatred for prosper and devises a plan to make Trinculo and Stephano the rulers of the Islands. he provokes humour but He is being laughed at not joining in with laughter. He is making the same mistakes again. Caliban is most likely better educated that Trinculo and Stephano. The two lowly characters are supposed to be civilised people yet they talk in prose compared to Caliban who talks in verse. This shows a contrast between the characters. Caliban is willing to worship people he is probably more civilised then. I agree that Caliban is a complex character. This is shown by the contrast between his vunerabilty and his venomous nature. Shakespeare reveals this through the appearance of Caliban, his language and the way he delivers his speech. He is a complex character as he can be venomous one moment and then talk about his island and be very poetic and delicate. ...read more.

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