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How does Shakespeare use the chracters of Prospero, Ariel, and Caliban, to explore human nature?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare use the chracters of Prospero, Ariel, and Caliban, to explore human nature? By definition, a simplistic meaning of human nature is purely general characteristics and feelings of mankind. However, a more in depth interpretation is that human nature is the "fundamental nature and substance of humans, as well as the range of human behavior that is believed to be invariant over long periods of time and across very different cultural contexts." When studying almost any of Shakespeare's plays, it is clear that Shakespeare was a master of observing human nature and carefully crafting it into his plays. This is particularly perceptible in "The Tempest" between the relationship and character dynamics of Prospero, Ariel and Caliban. Before developing comparisons and contrasts between the three characters it is important to analyse the "human nature" of each of the characters individually to highlight their persona, behavior and mannerisms. Prospero is presented in the play as perplexing and mysterious, but he still remains a fundamental character in the play. This can be seen through he great power he seems to have, and the also the command over other characters in the play. This is comprehensible from the first appearance of him, when we hear dialogue between Miranda and himself. "The very minute bids thee ope thine ear, Obey and be attentive" This shows Prospero's perpetual insistence and demand for attention as he tells Miranda a story from the past which she has evidently heard before. ...read more.

Middle

it very difficult for them to imagine that challenging his authority would be a good thing to do, and by after threatening Ariel (and Caliban in proceeding lines) which magical torture he makes the idea unattractive thus resulting in Ariel promising to "do my spiriting gently." It is at this point worth outlining the character of Caliban and some possible links with Ariel. Caliban is Prospero's earthly slave, often referred to as a monster by the other characters, he is the son of a witch hag and the only real native to the island. In his first speech to Prospero, Caliban insists that Prospero stole the island from him. It could be suggested that Calibans situation is much the same as Prospero's, as his brother usurped his own kingdom in the same way that Prospero has stolen the island from Caliban. Similarly, Caliban's desire for rulership of the island mirrors the lust for power which led Antonio to overthrow Prospero. From this, again, we see the callous side of Prospero thus confirming our interpretations which were formed from rhetoric between Prospero to Miranda and Ariel. "Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself upon thy wicked dam; come forth" This is very direct, and commanding towards Caliban. From dialogue between Prospero and Caliban it is evident that Caliban somewhat despises Prospero and whilst bound to slavery he's completely reluctant to carry out the tasks that Prospero is commanding of him. "A South-west blow on ye, and blister you all o'er" We again see a threatening side of Prospero when he threatens to give Caliban cramps. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whilst Caliban is coarse and resentful, described as a "Lying Slave" and "Poisonous,", Ariel is delicate refined and gracious described as an "Airy Spirit." This provides a striking contrast, as Ariel is not of the earth, whereas Caliban quite clearly is "of the earth." Although the two both serve Prospero, Ariel serves him willingly, hopeful for his freedom, whilst Caliban resists serving him at all costs. It could be suggested that upon Prospero's arrival on the island, he enslaved Caliban and freed the bright airy spirit, Ariel. It is at this point, worth referring to some historical context and some other interpretations upon the subject of colonialism. Many readers of "The Tempest" have interpreted it as an allegory about European colonialism which lends itself to Prospero's treatment of Ariel and Caliban, this represents the disruptive nature of European colonization on native societies. Prospero's colonization has left Caliban, the original owner of the island, subject to a life of slavery and hatred solely on account of his dark appearance. In conclusion, Caliban both mirrors and contrasts with Ariel. Ariel, is an airy spirit and Caliban is "of the earth" with speeches that reference closely to items of the earth such as pig-nuts and crabapples. Whilst Ariel maintains his dignity by serving Prospero willingly, Caliban achieves a different kind of "self dignity" by refusing, and only sporadically obeying Prospero. The relationship and dynamics between these three characters is alone, a great example of human nature and interaction and is strikingly similar to the realistic human nature of European colonialism. Words: 1,970 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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