How do members of the audience react to Caliban in William Shakespeare's play, The Tempest?
Audience members and critics, as well as Shakespeare scholars, have likely been debating the character of Caliban for as long as the play has been staged. Caliban is a monstrosity that inspires pity in some circles, and in others, he is a rapist who inspires rage and disgust—so it is up to each individual to decide for him or herself how to react to Caliban.
Caliban is a native of the island on which Prospero and Miranda find themselves. Post-colonialist readings of the play are often sympathetic to Caliban, as he has been misplaced and maligned by a usurper. Here, his bad behavior and his attack on Miranda are read as natural expressions of his rage at having his home stolen from him and his status reduced to that of a servant in his own country. Other readings of Caliban discuss him as a slave figure who refuses to abide by Prospero's rules, in addition to being a victim of oppression. As well, close analysis of Caliban's deformed appearance reveals a parallel with his deformed and misshapen new existence under Prospero.
Members of the audience vary in how they react to Caliban in William Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. In many ways, he can be a reviled figure, brutish, awkward, and resentful and probably originally meant to be despised as a "savage." More recent readings of Caliban though, approach him through a more sympathetic lens. Increasingly popular are post-colonial approaches to Caliban, which see him as a metaphor for indigenous peoples displaced from their birthright by western colonial powers. The key lines supporting this are:
This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou tak'st from me....
...I am all the subjects that you have,
Which first was mine own king;
The island does rightfully belong to Caliban, and it is, on a certain level, unjust that he, as legitimate heir to the island, be forced to act as Prospero's servant.