This is, in fact, the basis of colonization as the natives are subdued and forced to abandon their language and traditions in favor of the colonizers'.
Critics who supported the thesis of "The Tempest" being a description of the Spaniards' experience in the Americas considered Caliban to be a Native American despite the multitude of details that differentiate him from the Indians as they were described in the travelers' reports from the New World. The traits that make Caliban resemble Native Americans are taken into consideration, but the differences are disregarded. The methods of control and torture that Prospero utilizes on Caliban remind of the Spanish; for instance, Prospero and Ariel hunt Caliban with spirit dogs, a method of capturing and torturing Native Americans that the Spaniards used (Skura: 49). However, Prospero also has Caliban pinched by the spirits whenever he curses. This ritual could be symbolical of the Haitian masters of slaves who burned them alive.
The literary critics who argue against the theme of colonization in "The Tempest" claim that rationalization (attempting to justify Prospero's cruelty towards Caliban by making the former seem good, and the latter inherently bad), is a technique which works against colonialism in Shakespeare's play because this way, Caliban is given the chance to exhibit a series of qualities which were not associated with savage men such as Caliban. Caliban represents anarchy, uprising and the unwillingness to surrender. These, however, were general traits shared by most of the natives who were faced with colonialism. In this sense, he is a generalized reflection of "the other" in the English imperialists' drive for hegemony overseas (Marshall: 387). Both Skura and Marshall challenge the idea that Prospero and Caliban are actors in the typical European-Native American colonial narrative. The Indian as the bogeyman which fits...
Skura also points at a very interesting detail which has been largely disregarded by critics. Sycorax, Caliban's mother, came from the Old World hence Caliban can only be considered half-native because although he was born on the island, his mother was not (Skura: 50).
Paul Brown claims that "a sustained historical and theoretical analysis of the play's involvement in the colonialist project has yet to be undertaken" (Brown: 1985, 48 in Coursen: 125). To some extent, Shakespeare first offers a defense of European colonialism in general, only to undermine and ultimately destroy it through Prospero's epilogue. Shakespeare destroys the myth of the superiority of the European settler by making the slave more intelligent than the avatars of the civilized world such as Stephano and Trinculo. Furthermore, even though Caliban offends European morals, and does not abide by them, his intelligence and strength help him resist in face of the settlers. He is forced to learn their language, but his resistance is silent. The fact that he is able to resist Prospero's authority becomes a merit because this authority is questioned repeatedly throughout the play.
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Washington Square Press, 1994
Coursen, H.R. The Tempest a Guide to the Play.…
After examining her national and family history, Williams came to believe that the 1950's aboveground detonation of a nuclear bomb near her family's home could be the source of her family's struggle with cancer, as well as the cause of the community's propensity to contract cancer as a whole. Williams details her feelings about this fact in a personal as well as a clinical manner. This is not simply a
Miranda even says, "My father's of a better nature, sir,/Than he appears by speech" (I.ii.500-501). Shakespeare may have been writing Prospero like this only to juxtapose his warm nature at the end of the play, which gives the play a "and they lived happily ever after" feel. Prospero uses his magic to control the spirit Ariel, which gives him a lot of power. Prospero knows of Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculos'
The similar treatment of these very different minor characters highlight's Prospero's obsession with control, as well as his own return to the human world. Consider that although Prospero mourns his exile, he even uses captivity as an enticement for Miranda and Ferdinand's courtship, forcing the young man to carry wood like he does Caliban. The young man responds cheerfully, "There be some sports are painful, and their labor/Delight in
While Prospero is truly meant to be the main character in the Tempest, seeing the play performed live reminds us that it is actually Caliban who is most important. Michael Stewart Allen's performance of Caliban brought out the richness and complexity of the character, without reducing him to a crude stereotype - which is a direction that other, less talented actors may have chosen to go in. Rather than overacting,
Tempest -- Act 2, Scene Act 2, Scene 2. This scene is a short scene, with only the characters of Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano present. It opens with Caliban carrying wood to Prospero, his master, and being tormented by spirits only he can see. Caliban hides under his cloak because of a storm. Trinculo enters, and sees Caliban, and thinks he is a monster. He hides under the cloak too,
He would need to do that here, for sure. Caliban is a slave, which might be a problem for the actor. He is also a drunkard in some scenes, calling for understanding and a physical presence, too. Foxx has the physique necessary for this assignment, too. He could certainly carry off wearing a loin-cloth and cloak, as the wood-carrying scene seems to require. He is a master of both physical