English

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English

By | May 2002
Page 1 of 2
In literature as in life, characters are multi-dimensional beings. They possess a wide variety of character traits that make them who they are. In the Tempest written by William Shakespeare, Prospero traits resemble those of the Europeans that came during the exploration of the Americas. Thus, Prospero's treatment of Caliban is similar to the way Europeans treated the Native Americans.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America. The Europeans came to the Americas and took over. Similarly, Prospero came to the island and took over. As with the Europeans, coming to the Americas and treating the Natives badly, Prospero does the same to Sycorax and Caliban. When the Europeans came to the New World they enslaved the Native American population. They made them servants to all their wants and needs. The Europeans thought that it was their obligation to make the natives better. Upon getting to the island, Prospero acts like the Europeans. He takes over the island and enslaves Caliban, who is half human and half fish. Caliban now has to serve Prospero, like the Native Americans served the Europeans. Prospero now treats him like property. Caliban must now follow the commands and orders of Prospero. Europeans treated the Native Americans in exactly the same way.

Another way that the treatment of Caliban by Prospero is similar to the treatment of Native Americans by the Europeans is the adaptation of the language. When the Europeans came to the New World they forced the Native Americans to learn their languages and live according to the European culture. People who had spoken one language all their lives, now had to learn another. They had to live by customs they have never heard of even before. In the Tempest, Prospero does this also. When Prospero came to the island he forced Caliban to learn the language that he spoke. Caliban had to adapt to a style of living that he had never experienced before. Caliban had to change completely to adapt to the life forced...