Caliban's Enlightenment College
“Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.” (Shakespeare III.ii.148–156).
Herein Shakespeare gives the rights of The Tempest’s most elegant passage to the play’s most vulgar savage. Is it only the classic, comedic Shakespearean irony or does Shakespeare allude to a more discreet facet of his play? Caliban, the ogre-ish son of a witch, slave of Prospero, drunkenly plots with his newfound master, Stephano, and accomplice, Trinculo, to murder Prospero and rule the island. The trio dance off to execute their plan whilst singing an awry tune, until Ariel, Prospero’s servant spirit, invisibly plays the tune with a sort of flute and drum. This melody “played by the picture of Nobody” halts Stephano and Trinculo who now show some fear, to which Caliban beautifully beseeches them to not fear but appreciate the magic and awe of the island he...
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