Usurped and dispossessed by the imperialistic arrogance of Prospero, himself dispossessed of his Dukedom in Milan, Caliban is referred to variously by Prospero as a freckled whelp, hag-born - not honoured with human shape 1.
Specifically, she seeks to criticize the arguments made by Paul Brown in a recent essay.
Willis first sets out to explain the arguments Brown creates in his work. By emphasizing the otherness of Caliban, and then having Prospero assume control over him, Brown claims that Shakespeare is furthering the argument for colonization.
He sees the play as making the savage Caliban seem inhuman and naturally subservient, representing potential groups to be colonized, and the rule of Prospero to represent the benevolent British colonizers.
Willis concludes this section with her own conclusion: Willis disagrees wholeheartedly with that last idea. Special emphasis is paced on the way Caliban views Prospero. In addition to the sympathy his rightful claim to the island might garner, his childlike demeanor can also be said to grant him an air of harmlessness.
Willis addresses the attempted rape of Miranda by Caliban as certainly being problematic for this characterization, but notes that Caliban repents for what he has done.
He has some sense of morality. Finally, Willis ends by disputing Caliban as a source of potential disruption because of his conversion. She believes he has assimilated adequately. Willis points to Prospero referring to Antonio as unnatural because of his evil, noting his complete lack of fraternal affection.
He is shown to be rather heartless. While I agree with Willis assessment to a certain extent, there are a few problems with her argument. That describes the process of colonization too closely to ignore. Finally, Willis neglects to properly address the issue of racism in the play against Caliban.This appropriation of Caliban as a bestial “other” is compounded, however, by his admission that he attempted to rape Miranda () and by the reactions of other characters in the play: Trinculo, for example, mistakes Caliban for a fish ( and ), and accuses him of lying “like dogs” (), whilst Stephano refers to him as .
seen any men other than her father and Caliban, though she dimly remembers being cared for by past in the face of that past’s inevitable otherness. But putting him under slavery and undermining him as a monster, we can take Prospero as a representative of the Europeans who usurped the land of native.
For instance, Caliban is one character whose behavior is effected by migration in that it made him more hostile and spiteful. Caliban is a character who, although has not migrated himself, has been faced with immigrants and the effects of migration.
Undermining the Otherness of Other: Caliban and Aaron Much of the representation of the ‘Other’ in The Tempest and Titus Andronicus aligns with the Early Modern dictum that women be chaste, silent and obedient (Hull 31, , ). The author notes other relatable characteristics as well, such as Caliban’s appreciation for art and ability to learn.
For these reasons, Willis believes Caliban to be a far too relatable and sympathetic character to be depicted as the “other” in colonialist discourse. The island in The Tempest is home for Caliban long before other people come to claim it as their own.
There is a clear resonance there with the history of Hong Kong and the claim made on the island as a colony of the British Empire.