Caliban

Robert Scheetz 76550.1064 at compuserve.com
Mon Jul 31 21:29:01 MDT 1995


Otto Medin: Who is Caliban?

Shakespeare's "Tempest."  The character Caliban is the
ethical obverse of the antagonist, Prospero, ruler of
the island.  As the latter is drawn on the Renaissance
humanist ideal, Caliban, foul mouthed, evil smelling,
impervious to the graces of civilization in which Prospero
has since despaired of schooling him, is clearly a
personification of Irishry.  Enslaved by Prospero
to do his drudging, he by chance encounters a pair of
shipwrecked man-servants whom, for his innocence in such
matters, he overestimates and draws into his ever cherished
plot to murder Prospero and resume his rightful heritance
over the island.  In the interim the pair become besotted
with cheap wine and distracted by a pile of gaudy frippery,
losing whatever resolution they might have mustered.
Caliban trys to keep the coup moving forward, and the more
frantic he gets at his colleagues' foolishness, the more
they affect superiority and abuse him....They are, of
course, easily foiled by Prospero.

An ironic (marxian) reading is irresistable today, isn't it?



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