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

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

Extracts from this document...

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.

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. Marked by a teacher

    Is Prospero a power obsessed tyrant or an egalitarian?

    4 star(s)

    At the end of 'The Tempest', Prospero forgives everyone on the island. This obviously shows Prospero to be kinder than we may have thought prior to the event. By forgiving everyone, this rules out whether Prospero is an egalitarian or a tyrant.

  2. The Change in Prospero's Character.

    This understanding of Prospero's virtuousness is only accentuated in Act 5 Scene1, when he finally decides to absolve the acrimony between His adversaries and himself. He realises towards the ends of act 5 scene 1, that there is no need to prolong resentment, and the requisite desire for retribution any longer.

  1. Essay on Prospero

    It is true that Caliban tried to rape Miranda: "thou didst seek to violate / Thy honour of my child" but the language he uses towards Caliban seems very severe and at times unnecessary: "Thou most lying slave, / Whom stripes may move, not kindness!

  2. In what ways does Prospero use (and abuse) his power? Has he learned anything ...

    This irrational punishment for a wild creature like Caliban is an example of Prospero being quick to use and abuse his power. When Caliban bumps into Stephano and Trinculo, who are not under Prospero's power as he did not know they were on the island as yet, he begs to

  1. Explore the theme of transformation in 'The Tempest '. Show with particular reference to ...

    whether this was to reduce the punishment he thought he would receive is questionable, here he states: Caliban: And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass Was I to take this drunkard for a god And worship this dull fool!

  2. Exploring the themes of Imprisonment, Freedom and Authority in the Tempest.

    This means that people thought the Monarch was chosen by God to take up his position on earth as the head of England. "Thy dukedom I resign, and do entreat thou pardon me my wrongs." Although both Prospero and the King remain powerful, there is one huge difference in their authority.

  1. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Caliban in The Tempest. How far do you accept that ...

    As for his actions we could argue that his animal instinct won over the human instinct therefore he can't be blamed. Caliban opens Act 2 Scene 2 with his soliloquy. "All the infections that the sun sucks up from bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him by inchmeal a disease!

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

    Which explains Prospero's attitude towards him. In addition to this, it indicates that Caliban has an evil side to him and that he is an unpleasant persona. This is a significant turning point, but it is not always like this as Caliban shows he has a sensitive side to him.

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