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Imperialism in the Tempest - a Question of Ethics and Morality Essay examples

Assignment id 1004028
Discipline Arts Entertainment
Assignment type Essay
Words 3076
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When one interacts with strangers, feelings of superiority and inferiority are bound to occur. In Shakespeare's time frame, most of the Europeans' perspectives were disrespectful, arrogant, and full of ignorance. Much like the Native Americans, for the majority of the European colonists who landed at the "New World," it was their first exposure to the people of a different race. And yet, their first instinct of the Native Americans was described as barbarians, savages, and cannibals. The Europeans believed themselves as superior when compared with the "poor savages"(Takaki 148); similarly in The Tempest, Shakespeare portrayed Prospero as the rightful leader of Caliban's island, just as the Europeans thought of themselves as the rightful rulers of the Americas. But, Prospero did not have the right to exercise authority over Caliban morally and ethically, although in the time the drama was written, it had been broadly accepted. Therefore, the Tempest includes many European principles that are represented through the events and through the actions of characters. During the Renaissance period, European principles such as notion of excellence affected the makeup of Prospero character. It allows him to have supremacy and to have "legal" authority over supposedly "inferior" characters such as Caliban. In the text, Prospero is full of wisdom and knowledge, is supreme when compared with, the untamable savage, Caliban. Prospero, like many Europeans, sees himself as the humanizer and the salvation to Caliban. He believed that his presence in the new land is for the good of Caliban. However, Prospero in the end brought oppression and suffering to Caliban similar to numerous deaths of Native Indians due to slavery and diseases effectuated by Europeans wh...

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