Prospero’s “Slaves”: A Feminist Critique of the Marginalization of Minority Characters in The Tempest
Throughout the entire history of the world, minority groups have been treated differently than than the “average” man. While some have their rights taken away, others are ridiculed and used as possessions. The Tempest’s marginalization of minority characters within the storyline shows several examples of exactly how these characters are, in a way, “tormented”, including: the evidence that harsh judgement is given by major characters to all minority groups from the first introduction of their characters, along with the fact that they are each viewed differently in the eyes of major groups, yet with the same lack of power or importance, in the play and other sources.
Minority characters usually retain an “invisible”, yet normal feeling in many texts and novels. However, the minor characters in The Tempest, while included more than most, are judged harshly throughout the entire play. For example, after meeting Caliban for the first time (Act II, Scene II, 64), Stephano and Trinculo automatically assume that he is some sort of “devil spirit” or “monster” (Act II, Scene II, 65). Because Caliban is different than what the Europeans are used to, they assume the worst in exactly what he is. Another character examined crudely in the text is Sycorax, who is referred to as a “foul witch” (Act I, Scene II, 36) by Prospero. While Sycorax had many of the same powers as Prospero, himself, only she was called a witch. The bleak and acrid impression of many of The Tempest’s seemingly meager individuals shows the play’s strident critique of it’s minute “sidecast”. Since the release of The Tempest, it has been “remade”, or rendered differently in many medias (Including several essays, rewrites, and the movie), yet in each, the minority characters
are interpreted as “beasts”, “possessions”, or “slaves” who contribute very little to the overall ...
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