The Tempest Does Shakespeare make his audience feel any sympathy for
Caliban? In The Tempest, Caliban is a very unique and special character created by Shakespeare
and makes the audience feel two different ways about his conduct throughout the play.
Caliban is portrayed as a native islander and son of the previous inhabitant, the Witch
Sycorax. He is as well slave of Prospero and gives a perspective on the entitlement of
enslaving natives by a colonising entity (by chance written in the era of the discovery of the
New World). We might feel that Caliban is just a slave, full of violence and hatred to Prospero
without any remorse but we indeed have to recognise the other aspect of his character put
forward by Shakespeare. He has been enslaved by a foreign man with the use of magic and
forced to work for him in his own home. The dual portrayal of his character can be seen in
different moments of the play.
For instance, we can see a certain scorn from Prospero towards Caliban, who sees him
as the son of the "evil witch" that inhabited the island. The degrading treatment from
Prospero already questions our trust towards the assumptions he makes. However we gain a
biased view from the start as we tend to side with Prospero naturally as the play progresses.
"Save for the son that [Sycorax] did litter here" says Prospero when referring to Caliban.
The relationship between Prospero and Caliban is further accentuated by the hatred of
the latter demonstrated by his violent use of words ("As wicked dew as e'er my mother
brushed with raven's feather from unwholesome fen drop on you both!â¦"). We tend to side
with Prospero upon first analysis, but as the play progresses, we...