Tempest Caliban in Shakespeare Term Paper

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¶ … Tempest

Caliban in Shakespeare's the Tempest

This essay takes as its subject William Shakespeare's famous play, the Tempest. In particular, I will focus on the character Caliban. Caliban represents the conflict between the natural world and the social values of civilization. This is attested to throughout Shakespeare's play, in that, despite his harsh treatment by the other characters, he is really a warm, feeling character deep down inside, as attested to by his frequent and moving monologues. This aspect of Caliban's character was richly affirmed by Michael Stewart Allen's performance of the role in the Acting Company's production of the play on March 4th.

Caliban, a character who is meant to be half-man and half-beast, really falls at the bottom of the social hierarchy - particularly that of the time that Shakespeare's play was written. As such, Caliban represents the clash between civilization and wild nature - a key historical moment in time that many scholars today would regard as the colonial moment. This is dramatized in the course of Shakespeare's text by the fact that Caliban, despite his inherently beastly nature, is also one of the more poetic characters; he speaks of his existence as being situated somewhere between dream and reality:

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,

Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices

That, if I then had waked after long sleep,

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Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,

The clouds methought would open and show riches

Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked, cried to dream again.

Act 3, Scene 2

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