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The Tempest - Barbarism versus Civilization In Shakespeares play The Tempest an underlying theme of barbarism versus civilization appears Shakespeare creates characters that exemplify symbols of nature or nurture The symbolism of the characters is derived from their actions These actions show Shakespeares view of the uncivilized and the civilized as well as help the reader develop his own opinion of each side In this whimsical play Prospero the former Duke of Milan after being supplanted of his dukedom by his brother arrives on an island He frees a spirit named Ariel from a spell and in turn makes the spirit his slave He also enslaves a native monster named Caliban These two slaves Caliban and Ariel symbolize the theme of nature versus nurture Caliban is regarded as the representation of the wild the side that is usually looked down upon Although from his repulsive behavior Caliban can be viewed as a detestable beast of nature it can be reasonably inferred that Shakespeares intent was to make Caliban a sympathetic character During the first encounter Caliban comes across very bestial and immoral While approaching Calibans cave Prospero derogatorily says he neverYields us kind answer meaning Caliban never answers respectfully When Prospero reaches the cave he calls to Caliban Caliban abruptly responds Theres wood enough within His short snappy reply and his odious tone reveal the bitterness he feels from leading a servile life Calibans rudeness makes him seem like an unworthy and despicable slave Also Caliban displays an extreme anger toward Prospero When Caliban is asked to come forth he speaks corruptly As wicked dew as eer my mother brushedWith ravens feather from unwholesome fenDrop on you bothAnd blister you all oer Calibans attitude and disrespect is unfitting for a servant However his actions are justified Until Prospero arrived on the island Caliban was his own king The island was left to him by his mother Sycorax Nevertheless Prospero took charge of
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