Violence as a means of Revenge?

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest there is a lot of violence towards Caliban, verbally and physically. Prospero is the character who mainly delivers these acts of violence towards him, calling him very unpleasant and demeaning names as well as using his magic to inflict very strong pains on Caliban. One of the main reasons why we are led to believe Prospero is so violent towards Caliban is because he wants to get revenge and hates Caliban for wanting to Rape his daughter Miranda, as well as not behaving well towards Prospero or using language that would suggest that Caliban is grateful towards Prospero. This is because Prospero Taught Caliban how to speak. But why does Prospero choose to get his revenge in this way? Are there no other ways to Punish Caliban for disrespecting him?

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I think that even the verbal abuse was a little too much, and Prospero didn’t have enough so he had to give Caliban severe pains. Prospero’s reaction to Caliban’s actions are a little too uncalled for. The only reason Caliban has such remarks against Prospero is because Prospero took over the Island which was kind of Caliban’s first.

Of course Caliban also tried to rape Miranda but were also only given Prospero’s side, which we are forced to believe because we don’t have anyone to back it up or contradict it.

As always, i believe that violence is never the answer to anything. Prospero and Caliban should have worked their problems out by talking and coming up with a solution that would have benefited both of them.





































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































2 thoughts on “Violence as a means of Revenge?

  1. Great blog post, Alejandra! I found your discussion on the relationship between Prospero and Caliban, as well as what factors may have led to such hatred, to be very interesting. Does Caliban despise Prospero and desire control of the island simply because the magician is so cruel to him? Does Prospero torment and demean Caliban solely because he tried to rape Miranda? Or is there something else going on here involving factors such as racism and colonialism?

    While there is absolutely no justification for rape, and it can be a very controversial subject to even mention, I think it may be important to discuss the attempt that preludes the beginning of the play. As you mentioned, we are only ever given one side to the story, Prospero’s, and there is certainly some possibility for bias. I recall Ben once mentioning in seminar how the feelings that Caliban had for Miranda could have been reciprocal given how the two basically grew up together with no one else around their age. We also know that Prospero had very particular plans for Miranda in his grand scheme of revenge, plans that would have been ruined if she fell in love with Caliban. Maybe Prospero was the one who broke up this relationship, using his power as the colonizer to rewrite history and vilify Caliban.

    If such is true, it would dramatically alter the relationship we understand between Prospero and Caliban. As you said, perhaps the two could have just communicated instead of resorting to violent actions. Maybe if Caliban and Miranda had expressed how much they love one another to Prospero, it would have caused him to see the error of his ways in pursuing revenge much sooner, ending The Tempest before it even began. Of course, such things are hardly ever so simple, but it is an interesting idea to think about.


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