1 May 2013
A Misinterpreted Soul
A beast not honored with shape, a poor credulous monster, strange fish, and hag-born whelp. He is nothing more than this: a servant. In William Shakespeare’s The Tempest the character of Caliban is enslaved for attempting to rape young Miranda and later even conspired to kill the most powerful man on the island, Prospero. His inhumane appearance and initial lack of language makes him appear savage. Does it not? It is known that he is son of the witch, Sycorax. Prospero even suggested that he may be the offspring of both Sycorax and the Devil himself. Caliban is often compared to and referred to as a “monster” by other characters, and yet he reveals a very gentle side of himself to the audience. It is vitally important to remember that Caliban is the sole native of the island. The island is his only home. While others see him as a disfigured savage, even wondering on whether or not they could put him on display in order to make money, is it possible that there is more to this character than what is initially perceived? Is it possible that this deranged, inhumane creature and native is simply a kind soul struggling to find quality of life, respect and love amongst men who do not understand or value him?
Caliban’s life changed forever the day that Prospero and his daughter washed upon the shores of the island. Being the only life form freely roaming the island, he could have responded to these intruders in a number of ways. Nonetheless, he chose to show nothing but friendship and kindness. Caliban led Prospero through the island and taught him how to survive in this new land. He even states in a conversation with Prospero these words, “Then I loved thee and show'd thee all the qualities o' the isle, The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile.”The two appeared to have developed something like a friendship. Prospero even taught Caliban language. A fair exchange that would seem to represent...
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