The Tempest

How does Stephanos treatment of caliban recall and parody Prosperos attempt to civilize his servant ?

Act 2

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Although Caliban asserted his natural authority over the island in Act 1, Prospero's usurpation of Caliban's power is negated by Caliban's portrayal as a savage seeking a new master. Caliban proves Prospero's view of him, as a natural servant, to be true, when Caliban immediately adopts Stephano as his new master upon Stephano's sudden appearance. Caliban, as a native, is seen as a "monster," not only by Prospero, but by Trinculo and Stephano also; their contempt for dark-skinned Caliban is analogous to Europeans' view of "natives" in the West Indies and other colonies, and Shakespeare's treatment of Caliban provides some interesting social commentary on colonization. In fact, when this play appeared in the First Folio of Shakespeare's work, shortly after Shakespeare's death in the early 17th century, Caliban's character description marks him as "a savage and deformed slave," despite glimpses of his noble character in the play. As a representation of a man apart from Western society, Caliban is seen as a contemptuous character because of prejudices of Shakespeare's time; these Elizabethan-period social prejudices also belong to many of the characters in the play, and are the prime determinant of the negative view that Prospero, Stephano, and Trinculo have of Caliban in the play.