Shakespeare's Presentation of the Relationship between Prospero and Caliban in The Tempest

1202 Words 5 Pages
Shakespeare's Presentation of the Relationship between Prospero and Caliban in The Tempest

Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ is set on a small island between Tunis and Naples. The play is initially based around Prospero; once Duke of Milan, a loving father to Miranda and inhabitant of the island for the past twelve years, after being usurped by his scheming brother Antonio. When exploring the relationship between Prospero and Caliban, a ‘whelp hag-born’ living on the island when Prospero and Miranda first arrive, we must consider a number of aspects of Prospero and Caliban’s relationship. It is important to look at the following points; Prospero’s treatment of Caliban when first arriving on the island
…show more content…
Caliban admits to attempting rape on Miranda and states he would have ‘peopled else this isle with Caliban’s’. It is in this scene we learn how Caliban attempted to ‘violate’ Miranda and in return, he is now enslaved to Prospero completing menial tasks around the island.

It is also clear to see that Caliban has a desperate need to be acknowledged. When we first meet Caliban in Act 1 Scene 2, he not only curses Prospero but bickers with Miranda also. It is because of these two characters that we see Caliban’s struggle for acknowledgement at the beginning of that play. As the production progresses however, it becomes apparent that Caliban also seeks-and to some extent finds-acknowledgement from Trinculo and Stephano. I feel he discovers this when he is able to lead them around the island and take command. We see a role reversal for Caliban during Act 3 Scene 2, as it is he who now leads Trinculo and Stephano. However, it is possible to see that Caliban follows Trinculo and Stephano under the influence of alcohol. Whilst resisting and resenting Prospero’s enslavement of him, he is influenced into believing Stephano to be his ‘noble lord’. We see Caliban’s self-abasement in his admiration of Trinculo and Stephano and from line 88 we see Caliban’s plan to ‘seize his [Prospero] books, batter his skull and paunch him with a