tempnature Caliban as Representative of Natural Man in Shakespeare's The Tempest

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Caliban as Representative of Natural Man in The Tempest

The Tempest presents an argument against the concept of the noble savage through the character of Caliban. Caliban is the main focus as far as the notion of "nature" and "natural man" is considered in the play. Proof of this can be found in his name--"Caliban" sounds very similar to "cannibal," and hence serves to link him with primitive, natural man. In the first scene of the play, Caliban's character is connected with the lower objects of the planet, including the "springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile." Caliban thus appears to be beneath most human men because of his bestial nature. His mother's background also indicates that there may be quite a bit of
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Oh cursed be that I did so!

The friendship of the two outcasts, which happened almost immediately upon Prospero's arrival, has a touching quality to it. However, the friendship was broken when Caliban attempted to rape Miranda. Caliban, however, resents Prospero's rejection of him for obvious reasons. Caliban feels that Prospero, who was supposed to educate him on matters of the world, which would include women, needed to instruct Caliban and tell him what to do and what not to do, and not leave matters out for Caliban to try and figure out for himself. Caliban therefore feels that Prospero has unjustly rejected him. Regardless, the fact that Caliban attacked Miranda suggests that Shakespeare is attempting to reveal that the noble savage is not such a noble creature; rather, he is a force to fear. Caliban is unpredictable and ruled primarily by instincts, not society or societal rules. Hence, he poses a threat to almost everything and everyone around him, although we still may be able to sympathize with him. After his attempted rape of Miranda, Prospero labels Caliban as "a thing most brutish." Furthermore, Prospero and Miranda's attempts to teach Caliban language, although successful, also had its primitive fallbacks. While Caliban speaks very lyrically, demonstrating that he has learned something successfully, he also has the tendency to curse: "You taught me language; and my profit on't/ Is, I know how to

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