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European Colonization in Shakespeare's The Tempest Essays

Assignment id 1013064
Discipline Arts Entertainment
Assignment type Essay
Words 1388
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No Critique of European Colonization in The Tempest Since the 1960s, many critics have located a review of colonialism within their respective readings of Shakespeare's The Tempest. The most radical of these analyses takes Prospero for a European invader of this bewitching but crude land that he comes to rule, using his superior understanding to enslave its original inhabitants, most notably Caliban, and forcing them to do his own bidding. While the textual clues concerning the geographical location of Prospero's island are ambiguous and vague, there's a notable references to the "Bermoothes." We know that shortly before he composed his final play, Shakespeare read a modern travel account of the Virginia Company's 1609 expedition to the New World and its adventure after being run aground on the island of Bermuda. Enslavement does surface in Prospero's realm. The grand magician/scholar inflicts "pinches" and "cramps" upon Caliban to keep him in line and he manacles the young prince Ferdinand's neck and feet together. The servile state where he keeps Caliban is plainly and a cause of the "ridiculous monster's" deep resentment toward his overlord, and it is with some justification the stem of Sycorax invokes character's anger upon his tormentor, as in his curse, "all of the infections that the sun sucks up/From bogs, fens, flats on Prospero fall..." (II, ii., ll.1-2). Caliban himself embodies a number of the characteristics that civilized Europeans came to associate with the "primitive natives" of the New World. As from the Elizabethan stereotype, Caliban is without moral restraint, and, more specifically, he's lustful in the same manner that Native Americans were seen in the early seventeenth century as dang...

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