Non-Western Societies Tempest Term Paper

Pages: 2 (692 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .

He boldly asserts that in the character of these people, all of "the true, most useful, and natural virtues and properties are alive and vigorous." [2]

Shakespeare however had no such idealized views of the savage natives. Unlike Montaigne, Shakespeare was more fascinated with psychological impact of European influence on the savage man. He firmly maintained that there was no such thing as a Noble savage and through his character, Caliban, he successfully unearthed the negative side of a so-called pure soul. The non-western man of Shakespeare is no saint and neither is he a beast. Shakespeare maintains a completely objective stance on the subject of savagery and therefore presents both sides of non-western society through characters like Caliban and Ariel. The main point was to attack Montaigne's romantic view of the savage and this results in the creation of Caliban. Bartra (1994) writes: "Caliban represents a wildness that threatens Christian civilization from the inside, and, unlike Montaigne's cannibal, Caliban is a dangerous and menacing figure from whom one must be protected, on the one hand, and who must be redeemed, on the other." (p. 176)

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While Montaigne's view of the non-western man may not appear biased, it is a little too good to be taken seriously. On the other hand, though Shakespeare's image of the wild man appears to be grounded in racial bigotry, still it is more powerful for it lacks the apparent shallowness of Montaigne's cannibals. In short, the views of the two writers present contrasting images of the wild man and their views on the subject of non-western civilization are anything but similar which made some critics conclude that "wild men" were nothing but "a European invention." (Bartra, 3)

References

Bartra, Roger (1994) Wild Men in the Looking Glass: The Mythic Origins of European Otherness Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Michael O'Toole, Shakespeare's Natives: Ariel and Caliban in The Tempest

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