The Tempest - Relationship Between Prospero and Caliban

1667 Words Dec 23rd, 2012 7 Pages
With close reference to appropriately selected episodes write about the dramatic methods Shakespeare uses to present the relationship between Prospero and Caliban.

‘The Tempest’ was the last play written by Shakespeare and is widely regarded to be his greatest play. ‘The Tempest’ is thought to have been written about the year 1610. All of Shakespeare’s previously used genres are in the play: romance, tragedy, comedy and history. ‘The Tempest’ adheres to the three classical unities, unity of time, action and place. ‘The Tempest’ takes place in a twenty-four hour time period which abides by the unity of time. Unity of action is adhered to by the fact there is only one main plot being Prospero’s attempts at regaining his dukedom.
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“For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps, side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up.” Act I Scene II. So, the Prospero and Ariel relationship is one of master-servant but the servant willingly obeys the master in exchange for later benefits (in this case, Ariel obeys Prospero to obtain his freedom).

The Epilogue is the only scene in the play in which we see Prospero ask others – the audience – for help. It shows him as a mere mortal who, stripped of his magic powers, is as vulnerable as the rest of us. It is incumbent on the audience to exhibit the same sort of mercy as he has just shown, indicating that we too have learnt to be magnanimous. For some critics, this new Prospero inspires admiration and sympathy. For others, he is now an impotent tyrant who, without any method of self-defence, is in a position to be punished for the wrongs he has done to the others characters during the play. Prospero treats Caliban as a slave. Caliban's speech, found in 1.2.334-47, establishes Caliban's point of view of his treatment by Prospero early on in the play, and the audience needs to keep this in mind throughout the remainder of it. The general complaint by those who have read the play, including most college professors, use the alleged complaint of rape as a justifiable reason for the poor treatment Caliban receives at the hands of all who come into contact with him. But this is taking political correctness too far, in my opinion. Caliban, it must be
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