Examples Of Colonialism In The Tempest

944 Words4 Pages
The Tempest, written by playwright William Shakespeare is one of his most popular, yet also controversial plays. This paper will discuss the postcolonial interpretations of Shakespeare’s play, by looking at the nature of colonialism, and how it has been incorporated within his play, through the role of the colonized versus the colonizers. This paper will also compare how 21st century audience’s views may differ to that of the traditional Elizabethan’s, in relation to the play’s treatment of the original inhabitants of the island. Written between the years of 1610 and 1611, The Tempest is thought by many critics to be one of the last pays Shakespeare wrote independently. Full of magic, deceit, and conspiracies, The Tempest is one of…show more content…
As stated by Deborah Willis in her article Shakespeare's Tempest and the Discourse of Colonialism, “Prospero dominates this play in a way few Shakespearean characters do in others” (279), though with that being said the play does not favor him nor does it endorse his treatment and abuse of the Islands natives, but simply accepts it as is. Prospero does this through his overall power seen continually throughout the play, and it is this idea of power that divides the colonizer from the colonized or in this case Prospero from Caliban and Ariel. Furthermore, an example of this abused use of power can be seen in act 1 scene 2, when Prospero reminds Ariel of the kindness he has shown, “Dost thou forget/From what a torment I did free thee?” (1.2.299-300) in saying this Prospero reminds Ariel that he owes his freedom to Prospero and therefore his servitude. Furthermore, the relationship struggle for dominance between Prospero and Caliban is highly apparent in Act 3 Scene 2, when Caliban the original ruler of the island, explains that Prospero is an intruder and has betrayed his trust and initial welcome by enslaving him, in order to rule the Island himself, “I say by sorcery he got this isle;/From me he got it. If thy greatness will, /Revenge it on him, for I know thou dar'st,/But this thing dare not.” (3.2.59-62). Even though Caliban is hailed as the original ruler of the Island throughout the entire play, after his mother’s entrapment, as seen in act 1 scene 2
Open Document