The Tempest 2 Essay, Research Paper
Explain how Ariel and Caliban serve as character foils for each other. Be sure to consider their physical appearance and their roles as servants to Prospero.
In the world of The Tempest , Ariel, the airy spirit, and Caliban, the earthy monster, can be described as character foils. Unlike and contrasted as they are, they have some traits in common. They both have an aversion to labor and a longing for liberty. Also, they have a primitive sense of humor, a fondness for tricks and pranks, and a spontaneous and unsophisticated love of nature. Furthermore, deeper inside them, one has a fear of a higher power and the other a craving for affection and approbation. Thus, the contrast between them is heightened.
Ariel and Caliban symbolize, respectively, pure language and pure body. The name of Prospero s language is Ariel, who symbolizes his word in action, the precise fulfillment of his desires, who operates as an extension of Prospero s body. In a way, Prospero, through his creative word, Ariel, can be seen as being omnipresent. However, Ariel chafes under his master s control, desiring a liberty that would ironically reduce him to nothingness, dispersing him into thin air.
Caliban, the son of the evil witch Sycorax, is the perfect brute, who would be petted and patted, given food and drink, and taught to speak. Caliban learns language only to turn it against itself. He becomes vindictive and rewards his master s, Prospero, efforts with curses. His developed consciousness leads him into deeper enslavement, inducing him to overeach his limits by attempting to murder his lord. Earlier, he became rebellious and attempted to “violate” his master s daughter, the innocent, pure Miranda. He later, after getting drunk, turns on Prospero and professes his loyalty to Stephano.
In conclusion, Ariel is considered to be beyond humanity at the spiritual end of the scale and Caliban is beneath humanity at the animal end of the scale. In addition, Ariel rides “on the curl d clouds” and Caliban liveson “this hard rock.” Caliban and Ariel exist at opposite sides of the spectrum and because of this, they are characters foils to each other.
#3 Describe Miranda. How is she a product of “nurturre rather than “nature”? What values does she represent in the play?
The character of Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, symbolizes all that is innocent, pure, and simple. Yet her compassion, as real as it is, also has a certain element of shallowness, or at least inexperience about it. She has lived the majority of her life in isolation, on an island known with her only companionship being that of her father. Growing up on this deserted island, Miranda learns to live and abide by the example set by Prospero. He is her only contact with the humanity and therefore he is her only friend and teacher. She knows no other woman and therefore had no female figure to aid the process of raising her. She is na ve and unaware of life s experiences, having been shielded from the rest of the world.
Throughout her life, which began at age three on the island, to the time in which she met the only other human contact, Ferdinand, at age fifteen, she learned many things from her father about life and all its complexities. Living on this island, Miranda is a product of ” nurture” rather than that of “nature.”
The term nurture refers to the upbringing or raising of a child. Miranda s father is her upbringing. He guides her from her early years on the island all the way through her first meeting of human contact. Miranda had to grow up on a deserted island with no other human contact and having to live by and trust only one person s point of view. It is hard for us the fathom the idea, but to her it was all she knew. Her trust in her father was unparallel to any other. She is a product of nurture; she had no other choice. Miranda could not be a product of nature simply because she only had her father to look up to, abide by, and learn from, as a result of having no other human contact. To be a product of nature one has to be brought up in an environment in which there are many things to learn from and experience. Miranda had no other persons to learn from. A person needs to be exposed to different values and beliefs, different morals and opinions. To see and understand these things, one needs to be in contact with them at all times.
Miranda has grown up living a life full of innocence, a value that she has been taught by her father. Prospero has taught her about life the best way he knows how. He has chosen to bring her up as a sensitive young girl, one who personifies all that is good in people, one that he can be proud of. Being a father, mother, friend, companion, and teacher has been a tough task for Prospero, but it is now up to Miranda to take what he has taught her and bring it into this new world that she is a part of and make him a proud father. He is confident that she will do so and she is too. It is time for her to become a woman and no longer a girl. Her values of innocence, sensitivity, love and honesty are all ones that will take her far in her new life.
#11 How does Prospero s magic differ from that of Sycorax? Why do you think Prospero gives up his magic?
Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan and father of Miranda, is a kind, intelligent, forgiving, fair, and just man. He has spent many years studying the ins and out of magic through education and books. The magic that he has attained is “white magic.” The term “white magic” fits the description of Prospero in that white symbolizes purity. This magic that Prospero has attained allows him to overcome his enemies. Through his practice of “white magic” he demonstrates the difference between good and evil. He has learned to use his magic wisely and carefully. This is much different than that of Sycorax, the mother of Caliban.
Sycorax also has attained magic over the years. But rather than having the “white magic” that Prospero possesses and glorifies, she has “black magic.” In a sense Prospero is an angel and Sycorax is a devil. The word black symbolizes darkness and evil, the exact opposite of white. Rather than using her magic wisely and efficiently, Sycorax uses it to bring evil upon others. A perfect example of this would be the way in which she imprisoned Ariel in a tree. It was not until Prospero freed Ariel from the tree that he was able to get out. Prospero knows how to use his magic in a positive way, contrasting Sycorax, who uses it the wrong way.
The time in which Prospero has his magic is limited in that at the end of the play Prospero has Ariel gather everyone around in a magic circle. But before he does this he confesses to Ariel his intentions of this meeting. He explains to him that his intentions of the meeting are not cruel, that the time has come that he set free the court group, and that he will give them their right minds back. As Ariel goes and does this, Prospero gives a soliloquy in which he states his intentions of his future. In this soliloquy, Prospero tells of his supernatural powers through magic and says that it is time for him to give up his magic. He says that he will break his magic staff and bury it deep in the ground, and he will sink his magic books deep in the sea.
Prospero learned magic and put it to use in an attempt to replace all his faults in his earlier life. He uses magic to make things better and fix all his problems. In a way, magic is his way of getting around what he can t figure out himself. But now he has come to realize that if he wants to retain his Dukedom he needs to give up his magic and live a normal life as the Duke of Milan. Magic solved his problems for him once in his life, but now he realizes that a good Duke would face the problems just as everyone else does.
In his last line of the play, Prospero says ” I ll deliver all; and promise you calm seas, auspicious gales, and sail so expeditious that shall catch your royal fleet far off.” He then continues to give Ariel his send off of freedom. What he means in this last line of the play is that he is now going to leave this island, but before he does this he wants to mend all ties with those who are there. Next, he renounces his magic as he realizes that he is a new man with new responsibilities. He is off to be the Duke of Milan and serve as a trustworthy and honest Duke, one which all can live under and abide by fairly. He has his Dukedom back, he feels as though he no longer needs his magic.