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Has Caliban gained freedom at the end of The Tempest?
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It is not entirely clear just what happens to Caliban in the end - what exactly his future will be. Prospero offers to pardon him for his drunken plotting with Stephano and Trinculo, but is still ordering him about. Caliban it's true does appear repentant but this might be only because he's scared of what would happen to him otherwise. Unlike Ariel, Prospero does not actually say that he will release him from servitude. It might be, of course, that he will be left behind on the island after Prospero and the others return to Italy, but this is not made clear either. There is a sinister hint that he might be taken back to Italy to be exhibited at fairs as a fish-like monster, as Antonio describes him.
Posted by gpane on January 4, 2013 at 10:45 AM (Answer #1)
High School Teacher
The ending of the play is unclear in terms of what happens to Caliban. The last we see of him is in Act V scene 1, when he is ushered on stage along with Stefano and Trinculo dressed in the clothes they have stolen from Prospero. They are all suitably chagrined to have been caught red-handed, and Caliban in particular is embarrassed and ashamed to have taken the two men for gods and is concerned about what Prospero will do to him. Note his last words when Prospero forgives him and tells him to go to his rooms:
Ay, that I will; and I'll be wise hereafter,
And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass
Was I to take this drunkard for a god,
And worship this dull fool!
The audience can only assume that when Prospero leaves the island, as he says he will do at the end of this play, he will leave Caliban on the island to live on his own island untroubled by Prospero any longer. It would be hard to imagine that Prospero would take such a figure with him to the mainland as he assumes his position in court. His precise fate is, however, not specified.
Posted by accessteacher on January 4, 2013 at 7:28 PM (Answer #2)
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