The Mistreatment Of Caliban In Shakespeare's The Tempest

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Frias 4 Some people might think of Shakespeare?s story The Tempest as just that, a story about a man who has his position as Duke of Milan usurped by his less than pleasant brother. However, after a careful analysis of The Tempest, it is easy to see how prominent the mistreatment of Caliban is throughout the story. This analytical essay will attempt to show that Caliban?s character is portrayed as monstrous, and the abuse imposed on him is easily justifiable because The Tempest was influenced by the culture and events that were present at the time that Shakespeare wrote this story. We first hear of Caliban in Prospero?s conversation with Ariel and right off the bat we know that Prospero has a disdain for Caliban when he offhandedly comments…show more content…
Prospero allowed Caliban to live with Miranda and himself until Caliban violated his trust. Miranda also tried to teach Caliban to be civilized much like the English wanted to teach the Native Americans to be civilized. She reminds him, ?I piteed thee, Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour one thing or another? (Shakespeare 26). Miranda?s initial treatment of Caliban appears to be modelled after the way the English colonies treated the Native Americans initially. The English soon began to see the Native Americans as savages who were unworthy of owning the land that the English wanted. They believed them to be uncivilized savages and they claimed things about the Indians that were not true and in order to classify them as savages. The English manipulated the way Native Americans were perceived because they wanted the land that the Indians had. Similarly, those who cam to the island in The Tempest saw Caliban as a savage, Prospero even took control of the land that was once…show more content…
and the Natives were seen as an obstacle that needed to be removed (Takaki 202). This portrayal facilitated the taking of Native American land which eventually translated into the taking of Caliban?s land in The Tempest. The English people of the 1600?s believed that their lifestyle was the only correct one. They felt entitled to diminish people who did not live like them, and they did so with the Native Americans. They exploited them by taking their land, kidnapping and enslaving their people, and by degrading them. This can somewhat be seen in The Tempest when is noted that Prospero has fancy clothing and books to read, he was trying to hold on to what little civilization he had left. He too was afraid of becoming uncivilized like the island native, Caliban.Much like Asma?s essay appears to suggest, the English and Prospero demonized Caliban to set a clear boundary between what they were and what they were not. They felt as though they needed to establish that boundary for fear of unknowingly crossing over to the savage
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