Caliban Portrayed as a Child in The Tempest

1901 Words Jul 15th, 2018 8 Pages
Caliban Portrayed as a Child in The Tempest

Can a grown adult develop and act like a child? Shakespeaer's answer would have been yes. This fact is depicted through the character of Caliban. Caliban's speech and manners, as well as his thought, all display the very basic reactions and notions of human beings. He is also controlled by a parent figure who comes in the form of Prospero. An analysis of Caliban can hold him up to Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development, which focuses on the development of children. Caliban, unquestionably, fits one of Piaget's developmental stages. Jean Piaget developed his Theory of Cognitive Senses in 1952. According to Piaget, as children develop, they must make constant mental
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His thoughts about the attempted rape and his revenge against Prospero are not the only items that demonstrate that Caliban is childish. Caliban also thinks and talks about his mother quite often, also similar to a child. Mentally developed adults usually do not do such a thing; of course, they think about and care about their mothers, but not nearly as much as children do. Miranda, the second most naïve character in the book, does not think about her absent mother nearly as much as Caliban does. This serves to help create a comparison of the developed child to the underdeveloped one, and the contrast brings out the child-like nature of Caliban. Again, these factors help prove the fact that Caliban can be fit into Piaget's second stage because of the childlike attributes Caliban demonstrates.

Caliban further demonstrates his childish instincts when he rebukes Prospero for first stroking and then disciplining him, and he claims to object to being made a subject when he was "mine own king." Again, like a child, the character of Prospero is outraged at his parent-figure Prospero for punishing him when he has done wrong. Also like a child, the idea of being his own ruler runs rampant through every child, who is treated like a royal until he or she is forced out into the real world and then expected to follow laws and social concepts. Childhood can be defined as the
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