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'caliban Has A Better Set Of Values Than Stephano Or Trinculo.' By Considering The Presentation Of Caliban, Evaluate This View

1044 words - 5 pages

‘Caliban has a better set of values than Stephano or Trinculo.’ By considering the presentation of Caliban, evaluate this view.
When considering the presentation of Caliban it is important to acknowledge the differences in context and perception between Shakespeare’s audience and a modern one. An Elizabethan audience might be inclined to agree with Stephano and Trinculo’s values because they could probably identify with them. Stephano and Trinculo are white and European and not gentry. A modern post-colonial audience would probably have more understanding of issues such as slavery and the exploitation of indigenous peoples and so are more likely to be sympathetic to Caliban and more ...view middle of the document...

When one looks at the actions performed by Caliban, it is easy to see how his values could be considered equal to Stephano’s or Trinculo’s, who appear to have relatively low values; despite this, it is difficult to consider Caliban on a par with these two Europeans as he seems to be more gentle and more of a victim than is suggested by his actions. Caliban allegedly tries to rape Miranda as Prospero says “Thou didst seek to violate / The honour of my child.” This would suggest a relatively low level of values as would his plot to kill Prospero. If a Freudian perspective is taken of the play, Caliban’s values can be explained. Freud would argue that Caliban was a representation of the id, the side of our personality responsible for our basal and primitive desires. This would explain his attempted rape of Miranda as the sexual drive is part of the id, and also the desire to continue his genetic line and “peopled else / The isle with Calibans.”
It could be argued that Caliban has a set of values equal to Stephano and Trinculo’s. Due to his victimisation and subjugation by Prospero, Caliban wishes him dead. Caliban proposes that Stephano kill Prospero and become king of the island. This fits with Prospero saying “he [Caliban] is a devil, a born devil.” This may be so- he may, intrinsically, be evil and therefore have a lower level of values than those of Stephano and Trinculo, due to his being the child of the witch, Sycorax, and the devil. However, Caliban’s wanting to kill Prospero does not give him a lower set of values than Stephano or Trinculo as they both, especially Stephano, also want Prospero dead as it would mean Stephano could be king.
On the other side of the coin are Stephano and Trinculo’s values. From a modern perspective it is easy to see they have low values. They appear to be superficial and materialistic, which Caliban is not. In one scene Ariel has...

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