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The Other in the Tempest In order to understand the characters in a play we have to be able to distinguish what exactly makes them different In the case of The Tempest Caliban the sub-human slave is governed largely by his senses making him the animal that he is portrayed to be and Prospero is governed by sound mind making him human Caliban responds to nature as his instinct is to follow it Prospero on the other hand follows the art of justifiable rule Even though it is easy to start assessing The Tempest in view of a colonialist gaze I have chosen instead to concentrate on viewing Caliban as the monster he is portrayed to be due to other characters that are not human but are treated in a more humane fashion than Caliban Before we meet Caliban we meet Ariel Prosperos trusting spirit Even though Ariel is not human either he is treated kindly and lovingly by his master who calls him my quaint Ariel Caliban on the other hand is called a tortoise and a poisonous slave by Prospero As Caliban enters in Act 1 Scene 2 we realise his fury at both Prospero and Miranda He is rude and insulting and Prospero replies with threats of torture Prospero justifies his punishment of Caliban by his anger at the attempted rape of his daughter something Caliban shows no remorse for Miranda distinguishes herself from Caliban by calling him a thing most brutish and inadvertently a thing that has only bad natures She calls his speech gabble but doesnt stop to wonder whether it was she that didnt understand him because she didnt know how to speak his language Surely Caliban communicated verbally with his mother for the twelve years before Prospero killed her It seems that Prospero and Miranda expect Caliban to be grateful for the knowledge of their language but Caliban has just learned how to curse and justifies
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