William Shakespeare 's The Tempest

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William Shakespeare most definitely did not reference Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s Seven Monster Theses when writing his play, The Tempest. One of Cohen’s theses though - thesis four “The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference” - appears quite prominently in Shakespeare’s work. The thesis articulates that monsters are divisive and often arise in a culture to make one group seem superior to another. Further, societies devise monsters in order to create a scapegoat for social and political inequities and instabilities that surface in that society. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the idea applies to Caliban, who serves as a monstrous slave to the magician Prospero. The story follows in part Caliban’s journey towards independence, as he struggles for acceptance from the other characters. Shakespeare’s work blurs the line between monster and man, with a cast of characters seeking power and vengeance against others. Despite being a fellow tamed inhabitant of the island, Caliban never receives fair treatment from his owners. Instead, the two groups with whom he is associated, Miranda and Prospero and Stephano and Trinculo, ostracize Caliban as an unnatural being incapable of bearing human-like qualities. Consequently, throughout the play, Shakespeare distances Caliban as a monster from the other characters and in doing so creates a hierarchy of superiority of one group of characters over another. Shakespeare thoroughly sets the stage in separating Caliban from the remainder of the

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