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How does Shakespeare present tension

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare present tension Shakespeare presents the tensions between Civilisation and Nature through the way in which the settlers interact with one another, through the relationship between the natives of the Island and the settlers, through the way in which Shakespeare presents characteristics in both Prospero and Caliban which oppose the generalisations of civilised society and through the play's historical link to the Colonisation of America. The generalisations of Civilised society were that the "savages" of the 'new world' were brutal and needlessly violent, viewed as inferior by the standards set by a 'civilised' moral bound society. However, through the use of the characters Prospero and Caliban, Shakespeare upturns these generalisations by revealing traits of each character that contrast surprisingly to their stereotypes. Caliban is presented by Prospero and Miranda to be a foul beast "not honoured with a human shape" of which "any print of goodness will not take" and the audience immediately accepts their description of him because they are disgusted by his attempted rape of Miranda and especially by his lack of guilt, "o ho would't have been done!". By this Shakespeare is presenting how Caliban is so emotionally uneducated he is by presenting him as wild and immoral in a world where there is no social code. Caliban feels strongly for Miranda, her being the only female on the Island besides Sycorax and registers her beauty, "she as far surpasseth Sycorax" however does not have the language or understanding to express this in any form other than by animal instinct. ...read more.

Middle

The enslavement however would seem justified to an Elizabethan audience who would look upon Caliban, because he is a witch's son, as unworthy of anything than to serve Prospero. However, in Caliban's evident desire to usurp Prospero and in his constant rebellion, Shakespeare undermines the idea and presents an opinion contrary to the general attitude of the time as Caliban responds, "This Island's mine, by Sycorax my mother". Possession by way of inheritance although sensible in the "natural" order of things differs greatly to that of the arrogant claims upon discovery which the early settlers such as Prospero practiced. Prospero enslaved not only Caliban but all the spirits of the Island too are shown to be at his command. Prospero is illustrated as almost God-like in his demonstration of power. Caliban "must obey, his art is of such power... control Setebos". Again a direct link to the natives of the 'new world' as Setebos is a god of the south American Indians, the Patagonians. Prospero's comparison to God is also highlighted when Ferdinand speaks of Ariel, "it waits upon some God o' th' island" and at the end of the play when Gonzalo thanks the gods for they "have chalked forth the way which brought us hither". However he is actually describing what Prospero has done. Shakespeare may be using these comparisons to please a sixteenth century monarchy which was supposedly chosen by God, or to simply emphasize the amount of power Prospero has obtained under his pitiless command. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gonzalo would have "use of service, none", "no occupation" but rather live innocently with nature bringing "forth of its own kind, all foison..." Shakespeare uses the structure of the speech, interrupted continuously by Antonio and Sebastian, to perhaps mock the idea and highlight its faults. The idea itself comes from a French philosopher who describes how the Europeans corrupted America with its advanced influence. Through Sebastian and Antonio, Shakespeare is undermining his words and this implies that his own opinion could be that nature and civilisation can never both exist without the differences or hostility between the two. I believe Shakespeare presents the tensions between Civilisation and Nature not as to highlight their difference, but rather to highlight the tension that is created by society's denial in their similarities. Perhaps the repulsion of Caliban is seen as a rejection of each of the more civilised characters untamed selves, their more 'sophisticated' selves portrayed as wit, cunning or power. By this, I could say that Shakespeare is presenting Caliban as the only true character in the whole play, though coarse and unrefined he is evidently not a master of politics or scheming, such as the characters of Antonio and Sebastian, which has been learnt through the highest classes of civilised society. In this, Shakespeare is saying that both nature and civilisation are equal, the only difference being that nature is not in a state of self denial. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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