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Friday, April 23, 2010

The Tragic Mistreatment of Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest

While watching The Tempest, I was able to understand the storyline much better than when I read the play for class a year ago. I was able to understand the storyline, the setting, the plot, humor, etc. One thing I couldn’t help but notice was Prospero’s poor treatment of Caliban. Caliban is treated like a brute and a savage and he acts as such, wearing tattered clothes and chomping on a leg of meat. Prospero has him doing brutish manual labor like hauling firewood while calling him “slave”, “savage”, and “son of the devil.” There is clearly evidence of postcolonial theory in this interaction between Prospero and Caliban. Prospero is exercising his dominance over Caliban in a foreign land and the distinction can be made between the two of who is “the other.” Prospero is indeed portrayed as the civilized while Caliban is distanced from him by performing manual labor and being referred to with less than humane terminology.

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