• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Shakespeare influence the audience's response to Caliban?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Shakespeare influence the audience's response to Caliban? My essay hopes to draw into focus one of the most complex characters in Shakespeare's play The Tempest, - Caliban. Shakespeare influences the audience's response to Caliban using in turn, humour and pathos to make the audience relate to the various strands of his character. Caliban can be interpreted in many ways, and only when examining his character as a whole, can we truly understand how Shakespeare wanted us to interpret him. I will now further examine how he accomplishes this. Our first introduction to Caliban is not in person but instead, he is described by Prospero as "a freckled whelp, hag born - not honoured with / A human shape"; this account of Caliban's appearance gives the audience good reason to feel negatively about Caliban and also makes them eagerly anticipate his entrance. However, when we do indeed meet Caliban for the first time, this vision of an evil disfigured monster as expected, is replaced in favour with a cheeky insolent being that the audience warms to. Prospero speaks to him in a cruel manner, calling him a "tortoise" and a "poisonous slave", instead of covering, he ill temperedly answers back "As wicked dew as e'er my mother brushed / With raven's feather from unwholesome fen / Drop on you both! ...read more.

Middle

Slavery in any form is wrong and even in Shakespeare's time this injustice would be disapproved of. The audience sympathises with Caliban when Prospero describes his dreadful punishment, "For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps / Side stitches that shall pen thy breath up, urchins / Shall, for that vast of night that they may work, / All exercise on thee, thou shalt be pinched / As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging / Than bees that made 'em." This torture is atrocious and the 'monster' here is Prospero, not Caliban. Furthermore, the sympathy the audience had for Prospero and his great loss is again directed at Caliban. When Prospero first came to the island he was good to Caliban, "Thou strok'st me and made much of me; wouldst give me / Water with berries in't," Prospero taught Caliban to speak. Caliban confesses "And then I loved thee". The fact he loved Prospero makes the audience realise how hurtful the betrayal must have been. The audience also see that Caliban is na�ve and easily tricked. This is emphasised when Caliban meets Stephano and mistakes him for the "man i'th'moon"; "Hast thou dropped from heaven?" ...read more.

Conclusion

Prospero states that he had lavished kindness and attention upon him when they first met ``I have used thee/Filth as thou art, with humane care, and lodged thee/In my own cell, till thou didst seek to violate the honour of my child''. However, Caliban's evil nature (probably an inheritance from his mother) had bubbled to the surface and caused him to attack Miranda and later plan the murder. Prospero's own cruel behaviour did nothing to illustrate the correct way to behave, nor did it deter Caliban from trying to commit further calumnies. This is a classic case of nature versus nurture, and the audience is left to decide whether Caliban is really good but corrupted by his up-bringing, or is basically bad with occasional flashes of gentleness and caring. Caliban's character proves so successful with the audience because unlike some of the other characters in the play he shows a complex mixture of both good and evil. It is this interesting contradiction of traits that makes him more believable and accessible to the audience. His physical ugliness combined with his gullibility, hot temper, mischievousness, sense of natural beauty, eloquence and humour make him irresistible and one of Shakespeare's most appealing and enduring of characters. Thomas Baddeley 10RS 09/05/2007 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Tempest section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Tempest essays

  1. Shakespeare has made Caliban the most violent and savage character, but has also given ...

    However he also speaks of violence in lines. This suggests he is also has a vile side to him "punch him with a stake." Shakespeare has made Caliban the most violent and savage character, but has also given him some of the most beautiful lines in the play to show that he has two sides to him, a split personality.

  2. The Tempest Written By William Shakespeare - How does the opening scene capture the ...

    Gonzalo is an honest old counsellor. When Prospero was to have starved to death when exiled by boat, it was Gonzalo who provided food, clothing and books to comfort Prospero and the three year old Miranda. Stephano is a drunken butler, he attempts to kill Prospero and take the island for his own.

  1. How does Shakespeare use the chracters of Prospero, Ariel, and Caliban, to explore human ...

    This is why he now chooses to claim that Ariel is behaving badly, so that he can justify a retelling of the history even though Ariel is perfectly respectable in his approach towards Prospero. Even though he reminds Ariel of the misery that was suffered whilst in the pine tree, ("Thy groans" "Did make wolves howl")

  2. Caliban is often regarded as a complex character. Choose two scenes from the play ...

    'Shake it off: come on, We'll visit Caliban, my slave, who never Yields us kind answer.' Prospero has lots of power and is treating Caliban as a possession. Caliban has been robbed of his island and been made a slave.

  1. How does Shakespeare's representation of Airel and Caliban contribute to the dramatic spectacle, action ...

    "Say what shall I do? What shall I do" Ariel seems to be uncorrupted by society and remains pure and impartial, which again are qualities of the air. This gives airel an androgynous characteristic, which can leave the character open to interpretation.

  2. A Comparison Between The Tempest and Dreams.

    I was searching for clues as to whether he was dreaming or whether he was living in reality. However, once I overcame this I found that at the end of the story, both Everett and Mimi were sharing the same dream, in which Everett finds himself covered in blood with Mimi there to comfort him.

  1. First Impressions of Caliban portrayed by Shakespeare in The Tempest

    Caliban replies ?you taught me? and my profit is I know how to curse. The red plague rid thee for learning me your language?. Here Caliban not only tells Miranda his only benefit of learning her teaching is that he can now curse her, but also uses ?learning? where only ?teaching? would allow the sentence to make sense.

  2. How does Calibans Language influence his character in Act Three, Scene Two?

    Additionally, The word skull makes the reader imagine the excruciating pain of having ones skull shattered by a log. It becomes clear that Caliban's language is built up of insults and verbal abuse towards Trinculo and Prospero in this scene.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work