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The Tempest – Ferdinand and Caliban Essay

Shakespeare’s The Tempest includes a variety of character personality such as the drunk, determined, evil-minded, love-stricken, and intentionally good. Though at first it may not seem so apparent, most of the characters’ attributes parallel each other in some aspect. Hidden in the story, though present, some of Prospero’s qualities compare to Caliban’s. More obviously though, were the traits of the two that contrasted. Although there are a few things that link Ferdinand and Caliban in comparison, their attitudes on each concept differ greatly.

To begin with, Prospero holds one thing that each character desires. Ferdinand has the fancy for Prospero’s daughter, Miranda. Caliban wants his island, which he believes he has the rightful claim to, back. Neither one of them can, easily, get what they want from Prospero because of his great powers. When Prospero sees that Ferdinand will take care of Miranda and is convinced the two are in love, he gives his blessing to the two lovers [under the one condition that Ferdinand is not to break Miranda’s “virginity knot” until the wedding has been solemnized (Act IV scene I.)] Caliban is granted his island back after Prospero gives up his magic and returns to Milan to uphold his rightful spot as Duke.

Ferdinand and Caliban both carry wood for Prospero around Act II scene ii and Act III scene i. Ferdinand carries on a different attitude than Caliban, however. Caliban curses Prospero and they way the spirits torture him by pinching and biting. Ferdinand, on the contrary, transmits wood for Prospero because he doing it out of respect. He understands his work is serving the new love of his life, Miranda and on day maybe her father will allow them to join in marriage.

One of the largest comparisons we see between Ferdinand and Caliban is their desire to untie Miranda’s “virgin knot.” But, unlike Ferdinand, Caliban wants to rape Miranda. Caliban wishes to force sex onto Miranda to populate the island with more “Calibans.” Ferdinand’s love is pure. He has fallen in love with Miranda and has promised her father, Prospero, she would not lose her virginity until after they were wed. This would prove to be another comparison between the two characters with different motives for each of them.

Ferdinand and Caliban are two very different beings, physically and mentally. But one can spot out the comparisons that are mixed in with the dissimilarities. Great writer’s do everything for a reason and Shakespeare, “one of the greatest writers of all time”, definitely included the subtle similarities among the evident disparities to make the reader capture the sense that two opposite creatures can, in fact, have some resemblances.

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