What does Caliban mean when he says to Prospero, "For I am all the subjects that you have, which first was mine own king" (Act 1, Scene 2). I know what the words mean, but what is the meaning and emotion behind this statement? Can you elaborate while including the theme of colonization? 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As many critics have noted, in the passage this quote comes from, Caliban is summarizing all of colonialism—from the point of view of the colonized.

Caliban says that when Prospero first appeared on the island, he treated Caliban with great kindness. He paid flattering attention to him, was willing to touch ("stroke") him, fed him water with berries in it, taught him the English words for the sun and the moon, and won his love. As a result, Caliban revealed to Prospero the secrets of the island important to human survival: sources of fresh water, sources of salt ("brine"),...

(The entire section contains 289 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team