Theme Of Colonization In The Tempest

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The Colonization of the Americas in The Tempest In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the characters are presented and described in a manner that makes them extremely similar to the natives and colonists that were involved in the English colonization of America. This is accomplished through the setting of the play, and by assigning the natives and colonists pseudonyms in The Tempest. In the play, Caliban represents the Native Americans while Prospero represents the colonists and their attempts to destroy the natives’ ways of life. This is displayed particularly in Act 1, Scene 2 in the altercation between Caliban and Prospero. In Act 1 of The Tempest, Prospero watches from an island as a ship offshore is mutilated by a nearby storm. The Tempest was…show more content…
In Act 1, Scene 2, Prospero states “We’ll visit Caliban, my slave” (Greenblatt, 407). Prospero openly professes that he has captured Caliban, and now keeps him as a slave. Prospero then calls upon Caliban by stating “Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself upon thy wicked dam, come forth” (407). In this particular scene, Shakespeare clearly establishes the hierarchy that exists between characters, with Prospero visibly above Caliban in both power and status. This is then solidified by Prospero telling Caliban “thou most lying slave, whom stripes may move, not kindness” (408). Here, Prospero states that Caliban responds to lashings better than he responds to being treated with affection. This aligns with the relationship between the settlers and the Native Americans during the seventeenth century. When the English colonists first landed in the New World, they worked alongside and traded with the natives. Soon enough however, they resorted to exploitation and violence. When Prospero states “whom stripes may move, not kindness,” this shows how the settlers found that treating the natives harshly was more favorable than treating them with respect as they did originally…show more content…
The previous assertion that the colonists originally treated the natives well is reinforced by Caliban when he states “when thou camest first, thou strok’st me and made much of me, wouldst give me water with berries in ‘t, and teach me how to name the bigger light… And then I loved thee” (407). Here, Caliban explains how when the settlers, or in this case Prospero, first arrived, they took care of the settlers, or Caliban. Caliban even states that they taught him the name of the sun, and he loved them due to the affection that they showed towards him and his people. In Act 1, Scene 2, Caliban also states that “this island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother, which thou takest from me” (407). This shows how the natives felt that they were entitled to their land, as it was handed down to them by previous generations. It is the belief of both Caliban and the Native Americans that the settlers had no right to take the land as their
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