Monday, April 26, 2010
Oppression in Shakespeare's- The Tempest
The portrayal of Caliban in The Tempest identifies the oppressive nature of Prospero. Not only does Prospero feel that Caliban is indebted to him for the little knowledge he has, but manipulates him for his own end, acting as if it’s beneficial for Caliban. I believe this reveals the oppressive nature of European colonialism that Prospero embodies. Imprisoned on his own island, Caliban is subject to the will of Prospero. Caliban is able to curse because of the knowledge he has gained through Prospero, and is punished even though he didn’t choose to know how to curse. Caliban is tempted to drink and curse solely because of his exposure to both, through his interactions with Prospero. Caliban embodies the innocent native insofar as his misfortunes are the result of his oppression. Shakespeare exposes the oppression of the natives represented by Caliban, and portrays the manipulative power of knowledge, which Prospero possess in books. This parallels the difference in technology that allowed European colonizers to enslave the Africans and oppress them for them generations. Ultimately, Caliban is subject to the will of Prospero, analogous with European colonizers oppression of Africans.