How do members of the audience react to Caliban in William Shakespeare's play, The Tempest?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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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.


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