Imperialism In The Tempest A Question Of Ethics And Morality

1469 words - 6 pages

When one interacts with strangers, feelings of superiority and inferiority are bound to occur. In Shakespeare's time period, most of the Europeans' perspectives were disrespectful, arrogant, and full of ignorance. Like the Native Americans, for most of the European colonists who landed in the "New World," it was their first exposure to the people of a different race. And yet, their first intuition of the Native Americans was described as barbarians, savages, and cannibals. The Europeans thought themselves as superior compared to the "poor savages"(Takaki 148); likewise in The Tempest, Shakespeare portrayed Prospero as the rightful leader of Caliban's island, just as the Europeans thought of themselves as the rightful rulers of the Americas. However, Prospero did not have the right to exercise authority over Caliban morally and ethically, even though at the time the play was written, it was widely accepted. Hence, The Tempest contains many European principles which are represented through the events and through the actions of characters.

During the Renaissance period, European principles such as concept of superiority influenced the makeup of Prospero character. It allows him to have supremacy and to have "legal" authority over supposedly "inferior" characters such as Caliban. In the text, Prospero is full of wisdom and knowledge, is supreme when compared with, the untamable savage, Caliban. Prospero, like many Europeans, sees himself as the humanizer and the salvation to Caliban. He believed that his presence in the new land is for the good of Caliban. However, Prospero in the end brought oppression and suffering to Caliban similar to numerous deaths of Native Indians due to slavery and diseases effectuated by Europeans who were supposed to be their "enlighteners."

Greatly influenced by discovery of the New World, rumors and ideas floating in the minds of the Europeans in the time of 16th century, Shakespeare produced many characteristics of Caliban closely linked to stereotypical view of Native Americans alike Prospero's characteristics were also derived from European attitudes of the time. In fact, the name of Caliban is a mere metathesis and anagram of cannibals; and the word cannibal is used by Christopher Columbus in describing Caribs' cannibalistic behaviors in 1498. Therefore, Shakespeare's bias in the play, The Tempest, illustrates Caliban as a savage, "a born devil whose nature nurture can never sticks and as with his body uglier grows so his mind cankers" (4.1.188-192). "The European claimed that they had a God-given responsibility to inhabit and reform so barbarious a nation and to educate to uplift the filthy people" (Takaki p 145). One of their responsibilities is "planting of religion among those infidels and increase the force of the Christians" (Hakluyt p.125) and others were showed by Shakespeare through actions of Prospero. He attempted to nurture, teach, and civilize Caliban. Despite Prospero's contributions,...

Find Another Essay On Imperialism in the Tempest - a Question of Ethics and Morality

A Comparison of Characters in Macbeth and The Tempest

976 words - 4 pages The main characters in a story all have very similar characteristics as the main characters in other stories. The main characters in Macbeth and Tempest are both faced with similar dilemmas that they solve in similar ways, yet each one had their own unique way of going about it. Prospero and Macbeth are both trying to proclaim their power as leader, or king, and they each have to figure out if they should, and how they should solve the problem

A Comparison of Ignorance in The Tempest and Sonnet 93

981 words - 4 pages Ignorance in The Tempest and Sonnet 93        Ignorance has been said to be bliss.  To equate appearance with reality is a facet of ignorance, and leads to a part of the bliss.  Many of Shakespeare's characters find the bliss of ignorance and revel in it, and some end up coming to terms with their gullibility.  Some few are unwilling to abandon their ignorance even when they can see real truth.  All are experiencing different stages of

Ethics and Morality in Philosophy

873 words - 3 pages Morality has always been an unacknowledged and crucial role in defining ethics. Principles tend to be a virtue that applies only within society and can be distinguished from law, religion, or ethics. Morality in its defining sense can be different from each other, depending on the foundations of the society that claim their morality. Different societies have a different sense of what their moral priority would be like. Their morality can be

Ethics and Morality in Vegetarianism

2414 words - 10 pages towards violence and animal rights. Ethics in vegetarianism are concerned with the issue of the moral obligations that people unknowingly undertake when they deprive animals of their freedom, and their lives in order to fulfill their own needs. In particular, it raises the following question: is it right that a civilized man, one that would deem himself morally sound and agreeable, eat meat? Ethical vegetarians believe that killing animals for

Morality and Ethics in Vegetarianism

838 words - 4 pages applies to the following question: is it right that a civilized man with morals eat meat? Ethical vegetarians believe that killing animals for food is wrong. However, ethical vegetarianism is not only concerned with the question of using meat of a killed animal as food, but also with some other problems. People take animal lives in order to use their skin, fur and make experiments on them. According to Tom Regan, animals have the same right to life as

Ethics and Morality of Euthanasia

2233 words - 9 pages Outline I. Introduction II. Euthanasia III. Patients Right to Die IV. Legal Issues With Euthanasia V. Nursing Attitudes Toward Euthanasia VI. Contributing Factors for Nurses VII. Conclusion Ethics and Morality of Euthanasia Luke Westphal NSG 316 H003 February 24, 2007 The role of a healthcare professional is a very trying role. Nurses and doctors alike are faced with difficult decisions everyday that interfere with their own personal beliefs and

This essay discusses the question of ethics when it pertains to taking part in a war

1120 words - 4 pages Can an ethical individual take part in a war?Turning this question around in my mind, trying to think of it in a critical manner, and researching others' thoughts on the matter, I have concluded that there cannot be a true and valid answer to this question.To take part in a war in which you will be in battle leads to killing, violence, the end of life. To take life, I believe that you must make the subject subhuman. In saying this, I mean that

Patents - The Question of Ethics

5122 words - 20 pages ease the plight of people in poor countries like South Africa?PATENTS AND UTILITARIANISMAccording to Utilitarianism, our obligation or duty in any situation is to perform the action that will result in the most benefit to all of humanity. It rests on the foundation of morality and actions that result in the world becoming a better place to live in. Thus, the emphasis of morality is on consequences, not intentions.In our view, the issue being

A Comparison of Romantic Love in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night

1626 words - 7 pages Romantic Love in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night In all of Shakespeare's plays, there is a definitive style present, a style he perfected. From his very first play (The Comedy of Errors) to his very last (The Tempest), he uses unique symbolism and descriptive poetry to express and explain the actions and events he writes about. Twelfth Night, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream are all tragicomedies

A Comparison of Love in Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest

2101 words - 8 pages temple" and defends Ferdinand to her father, even though she is chided for it (Tempest 1.2 .458). In both cases we can see the passions of love between the lovers clouding their reason.     In both plays Shakespeare has a councillor, or mentor, for each couple. In Romeo and Juliet this mentor is Friar Laurence and in The Tempest it is Prospero. Because of the nature of the phenomenon of love, it seems Shakespeare

A Comparison of the Supernatural in Tempest, Julius Caesar, and Midsummer Night's Dream

1667 words - 7 pages Supernatural Phenomena in The Tempest, Julius Caesar, and Midsummer Night's Dream        The Oxford English Dictionary defines "supernatural" as something "that is out of the ordinary course of nature; beyond, surpassing, or differing from what is natural."  In light of this definition, I shall be discussing the plays The Tempest, Julius Caesar, and A Midsummer Night's Dream through three successive pairings, drawing distinctions and

Similar Essays

Imperialism And Colonialism In The Tempest

1118 words - 4 pages The Tempest was Shakespeare’s last play that was written shortly after England colonized Virginia in 1609. Throughout the play, there are many different references to imperialism and colonialism within the characters. The Tempest analyzes the imperialistic relationships between England and America but applies it to personal human interaction between the central characters. The island gives newcomers a sense of endless possibilities like

Tempcolon Confronting Colonialism And Imperialism In Aime Cesaire's A Tempest

1422 words - 6 pages Confronting Colonialism in A Tempest     A Tempest by Aime Cesaire is an attempt to confront and rewrite the idea of colonialism as presented in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  He is successful at this attempt by changing the point of view of the story.  Cesaire transforms the characters and transposes the scenes to reveal Shakespeare’s Prospero as the exploitative European power and Caliban and Ariel as the exploited natives.  Cesaire’s A

Huck And The Question Of His Morality

1023 words - 5 pages morality. A third example of Huck’s growing maturity is when he tore up the letter he wrote to Miss Watson. In this part of the story, Jim has been captured by some farmers, the Phelps. Huck decides to write to Tom Sawyer to tell Miss Watson where Jim is. Huck, despite believing it was wrong, Huck tears up the letter. “‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’-and tore it up” (Twain 321). Despite believing that he was wronging Miss Watson by

The Function Of Ethics And Morality In American Democracy

574 words - 2 pages There are a few questions surrounding the topic of ethics and morality. What are ethics and morality? Are they really necessary in order to have a decent functioning society? Would we be able to live with one another without them? Most people realize ethics and morality have something to do with the concepts of good and bad. Individuals need to have ethics and morality to a certain degree so we can maintain some sense of order.So, what are