Caliban Characterization (revised comp book)
Caliban is the island’s only native. As Prospero tells us, he is the son of the witch Sycorax’s hook up with the devil and he was “littered” on the island after Sycorax was booted out of her home in Algiers (i.2, 35). So, Caliban’s life did not really have a good start. He must have been raised up in bad conditions, or did something to turn himself into a “thing most brutish” (i.2). The audience knows that after Prospero and Miranda washed up on shore, Caliban seems to have had a good relationship with Prospero, “when thou comest first, thou strokedst and madest much of me, and there I loved thee and showed thee all the qualities of the isle,” (i.2.3). For a while Prospero treated Caliban with human care and let him stay at hi his little house. Caliban tries to rape Miranda in order to populate the island with a bunch of little Calibans, so it is clear why the audience is repulsed by Caliban’s monstrous behavior and it is easy to see the reason as to why Prospero mistreats him. Yet at the same time, Caliban is depicted as a victim of Prospero’s tyranny. When Caliban says “this island is mine by Sycorax my mother” (i.2.3), the audience is reminded that Prospero took over the island and enslaved Caliban. Caliban is also feisty and challenges Prospero’s authority, when he points out that learning Prospero’s language gave him the ability to “curse” his tormenter. Some say that Caliban’s name maybe a play on the Romany word “Cauliban” which means black; given that Caliban is associated with darkness. Prospero calls him his sale “thou earth” (i.2.42) and says of him “this thing of darkness, I acknowledge mine” (iv.1.20). Caliban is also seen a symbol of colonial justice. He is a symbol for what happened to victims of European colonization. Like many others one can argue that Caliban stands for countless victims of European imperialism and colonization, like Caliban, colonized people were exploited. Like him, they...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document