Nature vs. Nurture in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

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INTRODUCTION William Shakespeare’s The Tempest tells the story of Prospero who is exiled on an island along with his daughter, Miranda. Inhabiting the island is a spirit named Ariel and an ugly monster named Caliban. Miranda, Ariel and Caliban all vary in nature. However, all have been tended to and have been nurtured on the island by Prospero. Especially through Caliban and Miranda, Shakespeare demonstrates that education and nurturing can affect the person’s true nature and self. NURTURE VS. NURTURE Nurture is how one is brought up or raised. It includes social standards and customs in the area one was raised. Nurture varies from nature. Nature is one’s biological makeup, or how one was born. Caliban, for example, was born a monster. His mother was an evil witch named Sycorax. When Prospero first came on the island, he and Caliban got along and planned to dually rule the island. However, after Caliban attempted to rape Miranda, Prospero made Caliban his slave. Although Prospero attempted to turn Caliban good, his evil nature took over the attempted nurture. Michael Taylor in Shakespeare Criticism in the Twentieth Century describes the nature of Caliban. “Absolute natural evil of Caliban in The Tempest in the case of Caliban, it we accept the absoluteness of his natural evil, we must accept what Charney describes as a necessary (and absolute) ‘discontinuity in his character:. . .” (Bloom 128) Caliban is described as “naturally evil”. Despite any efforts, his nature cannot be changed. His natural evil in The Tempest will always triumph any attempts to change him. His relationship to an evil witch made him naturally evil and will forever be who he truly is. Miranda has been raised along with Caliban. Pros... ... middle of paper ... ...it, MI: Gale Research, 1987. Print. Scott, Mark W. Shakespearean Criticism: Volume 133, Excerpts from the Criticism of William Shakespeare's Plays and Poetry, from the First Published Appraisals to Current Evaluations. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1987. Print. Scott, Mark W. Shakespearean Criticism: Volume 8, Excerpts from the Criticism of William Shakespeare's Plays and Poetry, from the First Published Appraisals to Current Evaluations. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1987. Print. Scott, Mark W. Shakespearean Criticism: Volume 94, Excerpts from the Criticism of William Shakespeare's Plays and Poetry, from the First Published Appraisals to Current Evaluations. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1987. Print. Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. New York: Washington Square, 1961. Print. Taylor, Michael. Shakespeare Criticism in the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001. Print.

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