The character of Caliban in The Tempest Essay Example
Caliban, a fictional character in a Shakespearean play, is complex yet mysterious. In The Tempest, he is mistreated and silenced by Prospero, the main character of the play. Other works of literature, such as poems, give Caliban a chance to speak his mind freely and express his true feelings. William Shakespeare’s The Tempest is a play where a former ruler named Prospero is exiled to a remote island. He seeks revenge on those who have wronged him but learns to forgive them all in the end.
On the other hand, the poem “En el Jardín de Los Espejos Quebrados, Caliban Catches a Glimpse of His Reflection” by Virgil Suarez is about Caliban expressing his own thoughts while having some alone time. The Tempest portrays Caliban as an angry and vengeful character. At the same time, the poem “En el Jardín” shows him as a more hopeful and likable character but also connects some similarities in his character through both works of literature.
In The Tempest, Caliban shows anger and resentment towards Prospero. Caliban curses Prospero, saying, “Drop on you both! A southwest blow on ye and blister you all o’er!” (Shakespeare Ii 321-324). This curse that Caliban directed at Prospero already shows how much Caliban hates Prospero. This first impression of him makes readers automatically believe that Caliban is a furious and vengeful character.
Further, into the story, Caliban also says, “Beat him enough. After a little time, I’ll beat him too / seized his books / Batter his skull” (Shakespeare IIIii 77- 83). These further reveal Caliban’s resentment for Prospero, telling sailors he just met to help kill him. He even proceeds to say to these sailors exactly how to kill Prospero! Throughout The Tempest, it is repeatedly shown that Caliban is a character full of vengeance and is an antagonistic character.
On the other hand, in the poem “En el Jardín,” Caliban is shown as a hopeful person. He says, “How could he be the man in love with such a woman? ‘Por qué no?'” (Suarez 20-21). This shows that Caliban, despite knowing about his own malformed appearance, still has hope that he could be with Miranda.
This reveals more about Caliban’s inner thoughts since he speaks to himself. He also tells himself, “…he isn’t the only one damaged by history, by the way, storms surge and ravage, uprooted royal palms everywhere, roof shingles like buried hands” (Suarez 22-24). By telling himself this, he is comforting himself and saying that he isn’t the only one that had to suffer.
This reveals him to be hopeful and has a positive connotation about his character. Both these instances in the poem show that Caliban is more than just a ruthless monster, but a complex character with deeper feelings and hope. However, Caliban still shows some similarities in both works of literature. The poem says, “He thinks of the old man’s daughter, her feather-soft hands, the way she’ll smile up at her dresser mirror as if she knows this secret of slatted images on a pond’s surface” (Suarez 6-9).
In this section of the poem, Caliban describes Miranda as a sweet and angelic woman but does so in a somewhat sorrowful yet dreamy tone. Caliban’s thoughts show that he is in love with Miranda positively, unlike in The Tempest in the first act. Prospero tells Caliban, “…not kindness! In own mine cell till thou didst seek to violate the honor of my child” (Shakespeare Ii 345-348). Prospero’s exclamation shows that Caliban tried to violate Miranda and “take her honor.”
This negative connotation reveals that Caliban is more obsessed with Miranda, not in love as the poem portrays. In both works, Caliban takes a liking to Miranda. Still, one has a positive connotation while the other has a negative one. All these examples conclude that Caliban is shown as an angry character in The Tempest yet portrayed as calm and hopeful in “En el Jardín.”
New works on old characters can always change many perspectives, whether about the story or the personality itself. One should always keep an open mind on accepting these different points of view, and these two works alone can show that one should never jump to conclusions.