Summary of the Tempest by Shakespeare

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Throughout the centuries, the tense connection between civilized people and habitats of the island has brought confusion and troubles between two groups. In the Tempest, Shakespeare showed Caliban as brutal savage and monster that had to serve Prospero after his capturing the Caribbean island. In the play, Prospero describes Caliban as “not honour’d with a human shape”, which gives a link between the imperiousness of Prospero and the racist slavery of Caliban. The writer represented Caliban and his mother in a stereotypical and racist form.

Colonization is clearly seen after Prospero’s coming to the island. The fact why Shakespeare portrayed Caliban as an Irish could be seen in the events of the British invasion. At that time Irish people had similarities with the Caribbean habitats, including unusual appearance, savage etc. Therefore, the author tried to represent this resemblance in the Caliban’s look referring to the Irish people. Caliban blames Prospero for taking his land away. In the play, Shakespeare wrote: “This island’s mine, by Sycorax, my mother” but ignoring this fact, Prospero makes himself the king of the island. First, Prospero treats him much better than in the end of the play as suddenly everything changes. In accordance to the play, Caliban is considered to have the attempt to rape Miranda, the Prospero’s daughter. Shakespeare wrote: “In mine own cell till thou didst seek to violate/The honor of my child”.

However, Miranda and Caliban have a lot of things in common as they both are under the dominance of Prospero; hence Caliban finds himself under the Prospero’s tyranny which causes Caliban magically pains and struggles. Apart from her father, Miranda considers Caliban as a fool and sometimes bullies him. Shakespear wrote: “Abhorred slave/Which any print of goodness wilt not take/Being capable of all ill!” In the play, Shakespeare showed the disdainful and dominance attitude. Propero is portrayed as a king who has a supreme power over the island while he does not have any knowledge about the island itself. His overbearing and terrible personality toward his servants demonstrates the enslavement over other nation and culture. Abusing and hating Caliban throughout the play shows the cord of racism and mockery as he calls him “thing most brutish”. Looking beasty and horrible, Caliban experiences the rude attitude and bullying by the Prospero, and even Trincula and Stephano treat him terribly referring to his appearance.

In the Tempest, there is a slight connection between two slaves – Caliban and Ariel. While Ariel is considered to be an “airy spirit”, Caliban is called “Hag-seed”. Ariel is described as the shiny and gaudy spirits which can sing and enchant the islanders while Caliban’s appearance is odd and ugly. Although Prospero treats the spirit much better, both Ariel and Caliban suffer from the violence of the king, but in different ways. The non-human race of the native islander is the thing why Prospero tortures him more terribly than the other servant. Prospero always promises to punish Caliban. Shakespear wrote: “If thou neglect’s or dost unwillingly/What I command, I’ll rack thee with old cramps/Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar/That beasts shall tremble at thy din”.

Regarding the race in the Tempest, there is a clear evidence of racism. Caliban is called by a variety of offensive and abusive words due to his appearance as the native Caribbean islander. Throughout the play, he experiences mockery, hatred, and discrimination by being different in comparison to others. Therefore, it is necessary to highlight that the role of race is relevant in the Shakespeare’s play.

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