The Tempest By William Shakespeare Essay

The Tempest By William Shakespeare Essay

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In The Tempest by William Shakespeare, there is a contradiction between which character is heroic and which is the competition. Different readings of the text render diverse portrayals of the characters. Prospero arrives upon an unestablished island with a dictating mentality and is willing to do everything in his power to become its ruler. When he comes across an inhabitant of the island, he deems him as an easily manipulated, savage monster and attempts to colonize him. With the assumption that he is always right, Prospero deems anyone unlike himself as being unrighteous and in need of correction. Therefore, he takes it upon himself to administer the island along with its inhabitants. However, Caliban, the native he interacts with, is not as willingly submissive as he seems. Just because he is uncivilized does not make him incompetent.
Moreover, Prospero takes advantage of Caliban’s vulnerability by cajoling him and gaining his affection. Caliban explains this encounter saying, “When thou cam’st first thou strok’st me… and teach me how to name the bigger light, and how the less, that burn by day and night. And then I loved thee” (Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 335-337). In this scene, Caliban is recollecting the manipulation Prospero performed by first flattering him and then after winning him over, he deceives him, and lastly enslaves him. Prospero teaches Caliban, and in return tricks Caliban into teaching him. However, the knowledge of survival that Caliban taught him is a lot more powerful than that of language. Prospero knew how to outwit the native by giving him knowledge, making him feel powerful, then stripping it away as if it were nothing and imprisoning him after he got his end of the deal.
Caliban continues, “You ta...


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...his as an opportunity to really judge him for his predestined worth. Caliban admits to this downfall saying, “Would’t had been done! Thou didst prevent me. I had peopled else this isle with Calibans” (Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 349-51). Not only does he admit to what he has been punished for, but he continues to say he wished Prospero had not stopped him for he longs to populate the island with people like him. He wants to fill the island with uncolonized people who do not know the pains of hierarchical imposition that have been inflicted upon him. Although Caliban is often times portrayed as the monstrous character of the play for his behavior in this particular scene, his animalistic and primal reproductive instincts do not correlate with the assumption of him raping Miranda for the pleasure of it. He was simply trying to outnumber the bad with reproduction of the good.

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