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Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Caliban in The Tempest. How far do you accept that he is a "thing of darkness"?

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Introduction

Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Caliban in The Tempest. How far do you accept that he is a "thing of darkness"? Shakespeare very cleverly creates the character Caliban for The Tempest. Caliban is a very important part of the play. Caliban is a deformed creature, half man and half fish. Shakespeare portrays Caliban in a good way as well as a bad way. Two sides of him are shown, so the audience can decide whether they want to sympathise with him more or despise him more. Shakespeare at times makes Caliban seen as a creature with no feelings and at other times he's shown to have very strong emotions. "What some may see as natural, healthy and good for the planet, others may see as rather smelly and uncivilised! Likewise, some generations of critics see Caliban as representing freedom, whilst others see him as merely savage and uncouth" Caliban a creature of his times by Joanna Williams, the English review. Throughout the ages views towards Caliban have changed a lot, some audiences have sympathised with him whilst others have resented him. ...read more.

Middle

T he structure is well organised in this verse, Shakespeare uses verse for either the main characters or the key scenes. Semantic fields are used, and the word choices are well thought out. Shakespeare uses descriptive details and a perfect choice of diction. The words Shakespeare uses are full of strong emotion; Shakespeare chose these words very carefully. Imagery is used. Alliteration is used such as "hiss". Vivid verbs are used to express the action; physical pain is described as well. It's very articulate and persuasive. It's also interesting and elaborating. In the soliloquy Caliban wants Prospero to be inflicted with pain "All the infections that the sun sucks up from bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him by inchmeal a disease!" and Caliban is shown to be desperate "His spirits hear me, and yet I needs must curse", he knows that he will be punished if he speaks against Caliban yet he still carries on. Caliban seems to be losing self-control, "me into madness". Caliban makes Prospero sound petty by using animals such as "hedgehogs" to torture Caliban with because it looks like he uses every tiny little creature to hurt Caliban with. ...read more.

Conclusion

Caliban gets really agitated and calls Stephano a fool "The dropsy drown this fool! What do you mean to dote thus on such luggage? Let't alone and do the murder first. If he awake, from toe to crown he'll fill our skin with pinches, make us strange stuff." Caliban is scared of Prospero torturing him again. "Ay, that I will; and I'll be wise hereafter and seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass was I to take this drunkard for a god, and worship this dull fool!" Caliban here tries to get Prospero's forgiveness; he realises that he's made a mistake. When you talk about grace it's at a religious level usually but Caliban is asking for forgiveness using a religious word. Caliban is described sometimes as a "tortoise" and at other times as a "fish" he is abused a lot because of his looks but the reader doesn't know what he really looks like because he's described in a lot of different ways. Shakespeare lets the reader's mind imagine was Caliban looks like. After having explored Shakespeare's presentation of Caliban in The Tempest. I accept that Caliban has got a dark side but he's also got a good side, although it isn't shown as often, he's a sensitive being. Sabaa Mahmud ...read more.

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