Human Nature The Tempest Essay

782 words - 4 pages

Human nature is influenced by a individuals unique context and view of the world. In “The Tempest”, composed by William Shakespeare, is it indicated that human nature is more complex than it first seems. Whilst this is true, the play explores what human nature has to offer, through defining man from monster, forgiveness and exploring aspects of colonization. Shakespeare uses this text to convey ideas about how well society and nature relate. Most of the characters in this play exist in a civilized world, although indeed not all of them are ‘civilised’. These ideas of human nature are represented by a variety on language and drama techniques.

Human nature leads us to question whether we really are man or monster. Shakespeare explores this idea through the lack of humanity expressed by the characters in this play and inversely the level of humanity shown by the spirit of Caliban. In Act 1, Scene 2, Caliban is displayed as a ‘freckled whelp hag born – not honoured by a human shape.” This metaphor, spoken by Prospero is characterizing Caliban as less than human as he is a native to the island. Prospero reflects European values that Shakespeare is critiquing through the language that is conveyed throughout the play. In Act 3, Scene 2, Stephano is speaking about Caliban: “Monster, I will kill this man”. This metaphor suggests that whether Caliban is a man or monster, he depends almost entirely on the social and cultural concepts of the audience. An important part of Caliban’s appeal is his ambiguity of character that reflects on his humanity. According to the social hierarchy of the Elizabethan time, Caliban belongs at the bottom of the ladder, having little perceived social worth and yet for many critics, Caliban is the dominator of “The Tempest”.

If order to move forward, it is important to forgive those who have faulted. Although Prospero does everything in his power to threaten his enemies, he is defiantly no hero. Through the alliteration in Act 5, Scene 1, “The rarer action is, in virtue then in vengeance”, it shows that Prospero decides to forgive his enemies, even though they have betrayed him in the worst, possible way. Instead of seeking revenge, that could have turned the play into a ‘tragedy’, Prospero ultimately discovers that the capacity for mercy and forgiveness is what truly makes us human. Also...

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