european prejudice against no europeans comparing to calibanMost scholars say that the treatment of caliban in the play reflects european prejudice against non europeans. what specifically are...

european prejudice against no europeans comparing to caliban

Most scholars say that the treatment of caliban in the play reflects european prejudice against non europeans. what specifically are those prejudices and how do they provide the foundation for calibans treatment in the play

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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The treatment of Caliban reflects most European scholar's prejudices regarding non Europeans when analysing The Tempest. Shakespeare created an island fantasy world, one in which an evil witch, Sycorax, had been banished.  Through some unholy union, she bore the monster Caliban.  The name itself is a corruption of the word "cannibal," which is a corruption of the word "Caribbean."  Shortly before the play was written, an English vessel, trying to get to Virginia, was indeed shipwrecked at the Bermudas.  A year later the survivors were able to land on the mainland, after being given up for dead. The news, carried back to England, most likely inspired Shakespeare to write the play. Accounts by sailors had for many years reported the practice of cannibalism in the New World; Shakespeare uses that as a reference to Caliban. However, although the practice may be attributable to non-Europeans, the character hardly stands for an European stereotype of all island inhabitants.  Within the context of the play, the island and its inhabitantants are not representative of some idyllic paradise victimized by European generalizations; rather, it is simply a penal colony to which the wicked witch was sent, and to which Prospero had been shipwrecked.

teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Whether or not Shakespeare intended it, there have been writers and critics who have viewed the play as representative of prejudice.  Aime Cesaire used the play as the foundation of his A Tempest in which Ariel and Caliban play major roles and try to get out of Prospero's rule.  Cesaire's play is meant to be a postcolonial revision of the work.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What you also have to remember is that while engaging in literary criticism, we must be careful not to attribute intentions to the author that he or she had not intended. So what evidence do we have that Shakespeare intended Caliban to represent this idea?

epollock | Student

Where did you get the first part of your statement, "Most scholars say that the treatment of Caliban in the play reflects European prejudice against non Europeans." Is that your assignment, or did you get that from a source? Most of his plays simply were attributed to the general feelings in England at that time.