The Tempest Essay

1541 words - 6 pages


Explain how Ariel and Caliban serve as character foils for each other. Be sure to consider their physical appearance and their roles as servants to Prospero.

     In the world of The Tempest , Ariel, the airy spirit, and Caliban, the earthy monster, can be described as character foils. Unlike and contrasted as they are, they have some traits in common. They both have an aversion to labor and a longing for liberty. Also, they have a primitive sense of humor, a fondness for tricks and pranks, and a spontaneous and unsophisticated love of nature. Furthermore, deeper inside them, one has a fear of a higher power and the other a craving for affection and approbation. Thus, the contrast between them is heightened.
     Ariel and Caliban symbolize, respectively, pure language and pure body. The name of Prospero's language is Ariel, who symbolizes his word in action, the precise fulfillment of his desires, who operates as an extension of Prospero's body. In a way, Prospero, through his creative word, Ariel, can be seen as being omnipresent. However, Ariel chafes under his master's control, desiring a liberty that would ironically reduce him to nothingness, dispersing him into thin air.
Caliban, the son of the evil witch Sycorax, is the perfect brute, who would be petted and patted, given food and drink, and taught to speak. Caliban learns language only to turn it against itself. He becomes vindictive and rewards his master's, Prospero, efforts with curses. His developed consciousness leads him into deeper enslavement, inducing him to overeach his limits by attempting to murder his lord. Earlier, he became rebellious and attempted to "violate" his master's daughter, the innocent, pure Miranda. He later, after getting drunk, turns on Prospero and professes his loyalty to Stephano.
In conclusion, Ariel is considered to be beyond humanity at the spiritual end of the scale and Caliban is beneath humanity at the animal end of the scale. In addition, Ariel rides "on the curl'd clouds" and Caliban liveson "this hard rock." Caliban and Ariel exist at opposite sides of the spectrum and because of this, they are characters foils to each other.
     
     

#3 Describe Miranda. How is she a product of "nurturre rather than "nature"? What values does she represent in the play?

     The character of Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, symbolizes all that is innocent, pure, and simple. Yet her compassion, as real as it is, also has a certain element of shallowness, or at least inexperience about it. She has lived the majority of her life in isolation, on an island known with her only companionship being that of her father. Growing up on this deserted island, Miranda learns to live and abide by the example set by Prospero. He is her only contact with the humanity and therefore he is her only friend...

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