February 11, 2007

Revisiting the Tempest

Admittedly, I had to read a quick summary of "The Tempest" just to remember all the key points. The last time I read it was freshman year, In Dr. Jerz's Intro to Lit Study class (I also blogged about it but didn't feel the need to revisit those. They were awful) so granted, I forgot a few key plot points. And characters...I forgot Ariel was even a character, actually.

"You taught me language, and my profit ont
Is I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language!
"(I.ii.366368)- Spoken by Caliban

As I recalled the play, I came across this quote-one of my favorites. It's Caliban's little way of telling Prospero that if he is going to try and "educate" him, he can use this education for other purposes. It is an excellent example of Prospero and Caliban's relationship, as one of control and defiance. Caliban rejects his colonization and in turn, rejects language, since he feels it has not helped him do anything more than have the ability to swear. Language is Caliban's reminder that he is the captive of Prospero, physically as well as mentally since he has learned language.

Shakespeare, The Tempest -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by VanessaKolberg at February 11, 2007 12:42 PM | TrackBack

Oh, Caliban... Nice quote, here, Vanessa. I agree that it showcases exactly how Prospero has kept him captive--physically and mentally.

Captivity seems to be a theme I'm not sure I've explored before with "The Tempest." That might be interesting to look at, since it seems Prospero has quite a number of characters under his thumb (Ariel and Caliban being just two of the obvious ones).

Posted by: Karissa at February 11, 2007 4:39 PM

When you mention captivity (although I hate to beat a dead horse), I think of Benito Cereno just in the sense that he was a captive when he was supposed to be the leader and Babo used ways to manipulate him with words as well.

Posted by: Erin at February 12, 2007 12:38 PM
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