Essay by Ditzyleo January 2008

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Shakespeare's Tempest:"Caliban is the core of the play;…he is the natural man against whom the cultivated man is measured" Examine Caliban's role.In true Shakespearian fashion "The Tempest" is full of wonderfully complex and sometimes ambiguous characters that add to the growing and powerful themes. While it is impossible to deny that Prospero is really the centre of the play, since all the other characters relate to one another through him, it is Caliban with only a hundred lines that I found my focus of interest lying. Whether Caliban is a monster, a victim of colonialism, or he represents some other disadvantaged element of society depends entirely on the audience (for a case could be made for any point of view) and what they take from him. It is this ambiguity that makes Caliban such a fascinating and important character far beyond his actual presence in the play.

Caliban is different from many of the other characters for he is not from the 'civilized' world, his name even hinting at this fact.

'Caliban' is an anagram for cannibal- which in Elizabethan times meant someone who is a savage- uncultivated, uncivilised and untamed. Prospero's relationship with Caliban is interesting in its depth and ambiguity as to the morality of his treatment under Prospero. The relationship between Prospero, his daughter Miranda and Caliban is reflective and symbolic as to that of those during the colonisation periods and both sides have two very different narratives to explain their current relationship. Caliban sees Prospero as oppressive, and sees Prospero as over-stepping his rightful place on the island and taking more than that is his:"This island's mine, by Sycorax my motherWhich thou tak'st from me"In Caliban's mind the relationship between the three of them is unbeneficial to him- they took the island from him and...