Caliban in The Tempest Essay

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Caliban in The Tempest

‘The Tempest’ is the magical story of the ship-wrecked inhabitants of an island. It deals with many serious themes such as; nature/nurture, power, magic and treachery but ‘the seriousness is never allowed to cause disquiet in the audience’. Many of these themes are still relevant today. The Tempest is, in effect, ‘a fairytale complete with magical occurrences, suspension of the laws of nature and a happy ending’.

Caliban is an interesting an important character in ‘The Tempest’. He brings to the play issues that have a humorous side but are also serious, for example the treatment of inferiors. Prospero’s treatment of Caliban is portrayed as being amusing, with
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. . thou didst seek to violate the honour of my child.’ Another example of this is, ‘I must eat my dinner’, which shows that the thought that he is hungry has come into his head and he cannot think of anything else. This also proves he is child-like in his thinking.

From a director’s point of view, Caliban would be bitter, loud and slow in this scene. He enters saying a curse on Prospero, so he should burst out of his cave shouting these lines at Prospero with real feeling as though he has spent time in his cave thinking about the curse. He would speak in a loud, forceful voice and get into his curse. The audience would probably be shocked, slightly frightened and mildly disgusted with Caliban’s appearance and demeanour.

Caliban is used in this scene to raise the issue of the treatment of servants and the master/servant relationship. Although the audience know by know that Caliban tried to rape Miranda, Prospero treats him very harshly which reflects the poor treatment of servants in Prospero’s time. For example, when Prospero tells Caliban to come and chop wood, he replies, ‘There’s wood enough within.’ This shows a sense of bitterness on Caliban’s part, showing that he resents being Prospero’s servant, when he was once master of his own island. In this scene
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