Caliban The tempest : Character Analysis of Caliban

Character Sketch of Caliban : The Tempest

📃Introduction : Caliban :-

Caliban is a monstrous and savage character in the tempest, a play by William shakespeare. He is the son of a witch sycorax. He appears early in the play and is the only native in the island.

Character created by William Shakespeare
Play name The Tempest
Status Slave of Prospero
Mother Witch Sycorax
Antithesis to Ariel
Role A wildman serving Prospero

Caliban the tempest : character Sketch of caliban
Source : Wikimedia commons

📄Table of Contents:-

1. Introduction : Caliban
William Shakespeare
Shakespeare: The Tempest Summary & Characters

Born (Baptised) 26 April 1564, UK
Died 23 April 1616, UK
Active years c. 1585- 1613
Era Elizabethan, Jacobean
Literary Period Renaissance
Profession Playwright, Poet, actor
Notable works Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Macbeth etc
Genre Renaissance drama

✒️Character Sketch of Caliban :-

Caliban's character can broadly be divided under following heads :

Let's have a look at them one by one in detail.

1) A Rebellious Servant/ Slave :-

Twelve years back when King Prospero was betrayed by his brother (Antonio), Prospero along with his daughter ended up in a remote island near Italy. He made Caliban his servant, rather more of a slave. Throughout the play Caliban is rebellious and always curses his master. He wants his freedom and live in peace as was before the arrival of Prospero. He asserts that he owned the island and Prospero has tricked him and seized it from him. He suggests that his situation is same as Prospero's, as his kingdom was usurped by his own brother. 

2) Antithesis of Ariel :-

Caliban appears in stark contrast with Ariel, an airy spirit, who also serves Prospero. Both Ariel and Caliban want their freedom but their ways are wide apart. While Ariel willingly serves Prospero in want of his freedom, Caliban do that out of intimidation of Prospero's magical powers as he is a socerer. Ariel does every task with enthusiasm and reports his master promptly. Whereas, Caliban always curses his master while serving him.

3) A Parody of other Characters :-

Caliban parodies many characters in the play. On the one hand, he compares his situation with that of Prospero. And on the other hand, he parodies Prospero's brother Antonio as well. As he makes a plot to murder his master Prospero to gain power and control over the island.

Caliban parodies Ferdinand as well. Both show their interest in Miranda. But while, Ferdinand makes his love through the way of marrying her, Caliban attempts to rape her.

4) An Unthinking Wildman :-

But, in overall terms, Caliban  is an innocent character. He is a wildman who does not think and understand the events. He only wants his freedom and a hold over his island. And for that he plots to murder Prospero with his two drunken conspirators who see him as an uncivilized monster. On one side he wants his freedom from Prospero, on the other side, he calls Stephano ‘god’. He bows down before him and request to lick his shoes. He is only changing his master from Prospero to Stephano, interning into the same arrangement which he is running from.
Sr  British Literature (Click Here 👇)
1 Ariel: The Tempest Character analysis.
2 Shakespeare : The Tempest Summary & Characters.
3 Tragedy of King Lear: Summary & Plot.
4 Character Sketch of Cordelia: King Lear.
5 Importance of Sub-plot in King Lear.
6 Caliban : The Tempest character analysis.

5) Conclusion :-

There is a more delicate and sensitive side in Caliban's character. Although he is often referred to as a monster by most characters in the play, he has some human like affections with this island. About which we can get glimpses through his beautiful speeches about the island. His speeches reminds audience of the imagery and scenic beauty of island. It also asserts his claim that he really owned this island before Prospero.

💡Read More in English literature :-

  1. Ariel : character Sketch (the tempest).
  2. The tempest : summary, plot and characters.
  3. Character Sketch of Cordelia in King Lear.
  4. The tragedy of King Lear by William Shakespeare.
  5. Yank's as a Tragic hero.


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