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THEME OF COLONIALISM

The Tempest, being a play about colonialism, deals with the relation between the colonizer and
the colonized. If Prospero represents the colonizer from the civilized world, Caliban is seen as a
savage beast thus in need of being civilized. He is a victim of colonial rule and exploitation. At
the same time he also represents the force for striking back on the colonizer. Prospero came to
the island where Caliban and his mother Sycorax were dwelling and forcefully took it from them.
It is a typical colonial practice. He represents the world of civilization. The civilizing mission has
it that the colonizers were not there to dominative the natives, but to uplift them by civilizing. It
was an attempt to justify colonization. In the eyes of the colonizer the native inhabitants were
always barbarians. This stereotype works in the case of Caliban too. He is treated as a beast by
Prospero and he learns how to use language. He is a colonized whose existence is the 'other' so
much needed to define the 'self of the colonizer. Prospero feels it his duty to teach and civilize
the savage. Caliban is pure nature, not corrupted from the influence of civilization, After Caliban
is taught to use language he is being molded according to the image of the colonizer but the
colonized can never be the equal of the colonizer. He is the darkness that contrasts sharply with
Prospero, who represents light of civilization. On the other hand, Caliban also stands for the
force that strikes back on the colonizer. After he learns how to use language he says that the
advantage of it is that he knows how to curse the colonizer. He uses the weapon given by
Prospero to rebuke and curse him for what he has done to him and his mother. His attempt to
rape Miranda can also be understood along the same line of interpretation. Thus Caliban
represents the colonized who at the same time counters the colonizer with what he has given to
the colonized.
ROLE OF WOMEN
Most of the characters are so obsessed with Miranda's virginity. Prospero is always talking about
it (and guarding it from the likes of Caliban) and, when Ferdinand sees Miranda for the first
time, he says he hopes she's unmarried and still carrying her V-card (1.2.509-511). First of all, it
was, really important for unmarried women to be chaste in Shakespeare's day. If they had sex
before marriage, they were considered damaged goods who couldn't be depended on to produce
legitimate offspring. Women were also seen as property and a virgin was worth more.
Miranda's virginity is a thing that's treated like a "treasure" to be guarded, mostly by her dad,
who prevents Caliban from raping her and populating the "isle with Calibans" (1.2). Prospero not
only prevents his daughter from being assaulted, he also puts a stop to the potential threat that the
island could be taken over by the offspring of his slave. During slavery Masters would
impregnate their slaves and this was an issue because wives would not want illegitimate coloured
or mixed children to take over their property. Same thing Prospero tries to avoid.
Prospero would much rather give his daughter over to Prince Ferdinand (although he gives his
son-in-law a huge lecture about keeping his hands to himself until after the wedding) because 1)
Miranda loves the guy and 2) Miranda and Ferdinand will have legitimate babies that will one
day rule Naples.

At times, it also seems like Miranda's virginity is symbolic of her purity, innocence, and
goodness. (As opposed to Sycorax the witch, who hooked up with the devil and gave birth to
Caliban.) It also seems like Miranda's status as a virgin helps to somehow redeem the island's
naturalness.
Remember that the last woman on the island was Sycorax. She was unnatural by virtue of being
a witch, but also because when she came to the island, she was already carrying the devil's child.
If the island is to be a place of redemption for all the characters in the play, Miranda's virginity is
symbolic of the promise of a new and pure beginning.

IMPORTANCE OF CALIBAN
Caliban is a product of nature, the offspring of the witch Sycorax and the devil. Prospero has
made Caliban his servant or, more accurately, his slave. Throughout most of the play, Caliban is
insolent and rebellious and is only controlled through the use of magic. Caliban claims the island
as his own and maintains that Prospero has tricked him in the past.
Caliban in The Tempest is also an embodiment of slavery on the island that Prospero has usurped.
Caliban rightly resents this fact because the island should have rightfully been his after the death
of his mother, the wicked witch Sycorax. Instead, he is yoked to slavery. As Prospero says, "We'll
visit Caliban, my slave - he does make our fire, fetch in our wood and services in offices that
profit us." Again, "He is that Caliban, whom now I keep in service." As a slave, Caliban hates
Prospero, the hard taskmaster; in fact, he hates "all service". He, therefore, represents slavery and
the revolt against slavery in all its forms. Prospero at one time might have 'petted' Caliban and
treated him with great affection, but in the final analysis, Caliban is his slave and Prospero
himself makes no bones about calling him his slave without feeling embarrassed. Speaking to
Stephano, Caliban says that Prospero is a tyrant who inflicts all kinds of punishment upon him.
The relationship between Caliban and Prospero is that of a slave and a slave-owner. Caliban's
reluctance to carry out Prospero's commands shows a slave rebelling against the authority.
Slavery has existed in various forms in several countries from times immemorial. It has since
assumed serious dimensions and created several historic and geographic problems. Negroes are
still treated as second-class citizens in America. Caliban, therefore, represents the oppressed and
the downtrodden class of slaves in an unequal world.
IMPORTANCE OF ARIEL
He is moody. Prospero calls him malignant thing. His function in the drama is to represent the
intellectual, the spiritual, and to execute Prospero's commands. He is the link between earth and
the higher and better world. Ariel is Prospero's "tricksy" spirit servant and attends to Prospero's
every need. Unlike Caliban, Ariel has a (mostly) warm and loving relationship with Prospero,
who saved Ariel when he arrived on the island. (The evil witch Sycorax imprisoned Ariel in a
tree because the "delicate" spirit didn't have the heart to do her bidding.)

Even though Ariel is affectionate toward Prospero, we learn early on that Ariel isn't a servant by
nature; he primarily wants his liberty, but, knowing that it will come, serves Prospero
wholeheartedly and happily.
Ariel is notable for his use of white magic in the play, but also for his empathy and goodness.
These traits are lacking in some of the play's human characters, and Ariel's feelings only make
that fact more conspicuous. Most telling is his report on the three traitors: Antonio, Sebastian,
and Alonso. He claims that their state is so pathetic, if Prospero saw them he would be moved to
mercy and sympathy. Ariel thinks he himself would have that same tenderness, were he human.
While we are reminded that this is a spirit of a not-human nature, he seems filled with angelic
graceeven about human matters.
Ariel's obedience is an important symbol of Prospero's humanity, because he ameliorates
Prospero's role on the island and humanizes the action that Prospero takes against his old
adversaries. Finally, Ariel's willing obedience of Prospero's wishes stands in stark contrast to
Caliban's cursing and plotting against the same master.
Shakespeare put Ariel in The Tempest because his magic spirit helped move the play along and
provide drama. For instance, at the beginning of the play, Ariel created a deadly storm out on sea
where Alonsos ship was. (Prospero) Hast thou, spirit, preformd to point the tempest that I bade
thee? (Ariel) To every article (1.2, 94). Safely in harbour is the kings ship, in the deep nook
where once (1.2, 226-227). Ariels used his magic to create a storm that was intended to kill
Antonio and everyone else aboard the ship. However, the storm actually caused the ship to ship
wreck on the island where Prospero was. This made the play more interesting for the audience
because the characters could potentially meet up, and a confrontation between Antonio and
Prospero is much more dramatic than a sudden death.

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