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Caliban: Is he a villain or a victim

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Poppy Ravan

on 3 November 2013

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Transcript of Caliban: Is he a villain or a victim

Caliban: Is he a villain or a victim
We start to feel really sorry for Caliban in Act 2 Scene 2 when the torture he has been subjected to is revealed "his spirits hear me...who with cloven tongues Do hiss me into madness-"
Overall
victim- portayed in this light of being a victim because of the attempted rape but he had no social skills and would be unaware of how to court a woman.
A Victim
Caliban could be considered a victim from both a free will and deterministic point of view. Looking at determinism we could say he could've been born destined to be a villain. Born to an evil witch mother on a deserted island he was alone from a young age and had to self define.
Even though he has a murderous and rapey streak he is endowed with a string of sweetness who worships and enjoys listening to the insland "the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet sirs, that give delight, and not hurt.....when i waked, i cried to dream again"
We also feel sorry for Caliban because of the blatant contrast between the way Prospero treats Ariel and the way he treats Caliban
We are then exposed to Caliban's vulnerability and desperation through the characters of Trinculo and Stephano
Not only is he subject to torture by Prospero,he is also called a wide variety of horrible names because of his appearance :Hag-born" "whelp," not "honoured with human shape."

"Demi-devil."

"Poor credulous monster."

"Hag-seed."

"Strange fish."
They name calling could shape his attitude towards humans so it could work as a chain of events working to change his view on the world so even though he is really victim he come across as a villain
Yet, at the same time, Caliban is also a figure who can be read as a victim of Prospero's tyranny. When Caliban declares, "This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother", we're reminded that Prospero basically took over the island and made Caliban his slave. Caliban's also feisty and challenges Prospero's authority, which we can't help but admire, especially when Caliban points out that learning Prospero's language gave him the ability to "curse" his tormenter.
Literary critics have argued that Caliban could be a take on the word can[n]ibal which would put him in the light of a savage flesh eater which no human qualities.
There were no females on the island and in his adolescent mind he could be purely trying to continue his genetic line and have children as he wouldn't know how to behave around women as he hasn't grown up around them
A Villain
He attempted to rape Miranda when Prospero had taken him under his wing and had taught him language. Miranda had befriended the lonely Caliban but he had betrayed everything to try to force himself onto her.
He is dishonourable as he very easily and quickly switches alliance, praising Stephano and Trinculo as though they are gods. He then suggest that they kill Prospero so Stephano can become ruler of the island- he knows he cannot defeat Prospero himself so he brings in Stephano and Trinculo. This is manipulative and evil.
Not only does he drag in Stephano and Trinculo so absentmindedly to help him defeat Propsero but he also selfishly drags in Miranda making her a fellow victim all in an attempt to get rid of Propsero. This highlights his completes selfishness.
villain- portrayed both Miranda and Prospero and then went on to try and overthrow them and he made Miranda a victim even though she was nice to him.
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