Does Shakespeare make his audience feel any sympathy for Caliban?

Essay by sebagisbertHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2014

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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!…"). We tend to side

with Prospero upon first analysis, but as the play progresses, we...