Essay: How does Shakespeare present the character of Caliban in the play and what ideas is Caliban used to explore?
Calliban’s character in ‘The Tempest’ is portrayed as a violent and rebellious beast. The name ‘Caliban’ is an evident anagram of cannibal as Shakespeare tries to make out that he is no normal human but more animal like. He is half witch and half devil making him a particularly bold and rough character partly because he doesn’t understand the rules of civilisation. As well as being seen as a discourteous character, we also find that he has a more gentle side to him. Summarily to Miranda, Caliban is naïve and vulnerable “Be not afeared, the isle is full of noises,/ Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not./ Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments/ Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,/ That if I then had waked after long sleep,/ Will make me sleep again”. This is quite a big change is Caliban’s character as this shows Caliban’s natural side. Caliban’s relationship to Miranda and Prospero is bad-mannered. He believes that the island is his and that it was taken from him; “this island’s mine by Sycorax my mother”. Caliban believes that he should be set free since Prospero and Miranda are supposedly trespassers on ‘his island’. He serves them with passionate hatred and he feels as if he is a victim “I’ll rack thee with old cramps, fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar, that beasts shall tremble in thy din”. Prospero also expresses his hatred to Caliban in this quote. Even if Caliban is strong and fierce I believe that his vulnerability makes him quite afraid of Prospero “I must obey, his art is of such power”. Which again, is quite a diverse representation of his character.
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