The Character of Caliban in The Tempest Essay

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The Character of Caliban in The Tempest Caliban is the only authentic native of what is often called 'Prospero's Island'. However, he is not an indigenous islander, his mother Sycorax was from Argier, and his father Setebos seems to have been a Patagonian deity. Sycorax was exiled from Argier for witch-craft, much like Prospero himself, and Caliban was born on the island. Caliban's own understanding of his position is made eloquently plain when we first meet him: I must eat my dinner. This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother, Which thou tak'st from me. When thou cam'st first, Thou strok'st me, and made much of me, would'st give me Water with berries in't, and teach me how To name the bigger…show more content…
Prospero and Miranda were both involved in Caliban's education, and the three lived as a family until Caliban overstepped a boundary clear to the two Milanese. Prospero: Thou most lying slave, Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used thee, Filth as thou art, with human care, and lodged thee In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate The honour of my child. Caliban: O ho, O ho! Would't that it had been done! Thou didst prevent me. I had peopled else This isle with Calibans. Miranda: Abhorred slave, Which any print of goodness will not take, Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee, Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour One thing or other. When thou didst not, savage, Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like A thing most brutish, I endowed thy purposes With words that made them known. (1.2.344-358) Miranda is frankly snobbish here, but is excused by the fact that Caliban has attempted to rape her. Caliban is not at all ashamed of the incident. For Miranda, this justifies his current treatment, proving his natural inferiority: But thy vile race, Though thou didst learn, had that in't which good natures Could not abide to be with. Therefore wast thou Deservedly confined into
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