The contrast in speech also applies to the language of the spirits of the Island which are shown to be quite delicate and poetic “wild waves whist”, Shakespeare uses alliteration of the letter ‘w’ to slows the pace of the speech and produces sounds that makes Ariel seem less human or earth-bound but instead of the air or the waves. In contrast to the way Prospero treats Caliban, Prospero treats Ariel with affection, “my dainty Ariel”. Shakespeare uses the emphasis on the word “my” to suggest that Prospero is fonder of the possession of Ariel than Ariel himself.
If the Island can be taken as a metaphor for humanity versus nature then the differences in the way Caliban and Ariel are treated by Prospero defines humanity’s ambitions and fears. Prospero treats Ariel with love because he is an asset to him, “fine apparition, my quant Ariel”, and because of the power that Prospero gains through that control that makes him appear almost God-like. Humans control the elements to gain a level of direction in their lives, to make sense of the meaninglessness of life.
It is this direction that leads Prospero to believe and aspire to be like God because it strangles the connection between him and the repulsive beings of nature he has power over, such as Caliban. Equality leads to lack of control and it is Caliban’s adamant rebellion to be seen inferior that sickens Prospero. In the Tempest, Caliban represents people’s natural state and when Prospero oppresses Caliban, Shakespeare is creating an image of civilisation repressing their natural selves and concluding that the tensions between civilisation and nature only exist because of the way civilisation resents it’s natural state.
When Gonzalo speaks of his golden age he is explaining a world where nature and civilisation could exist as one without the tensions that are so apparent in the rest of the play. Gonzalo would have “use of service, none”, “no occupation” but rather live innocently with nature bringing “forth of its own kind, all foison… ” Shakespeare uses the structure of the speech, interrupted continuously by Antonio and Sebastian, to perhaps mock the idea and highlight its faults.
The idea itself comes from a French philosopher who describes how the Europeans corrupted America with its advanced influence. Through Sebastian and Antonio, Shakespeare is undermining his words and this implies that his own opinion could be that nature and civilisation can never both exist without the differences or hostility between the two. I believe Shakespeare presents the tensions between Civilisation and Nature not as to highlight their difference, but rather to highlight the tension that is created by society’s denial in their similarities.
Perhaps the repulsion of Caliban is seen as a rejection of each of the more civilised characters untamed selves, their more ‘sophisticated’ selves portrayed as wit, cunning or power. By this, I could say that Shakespeare is presenting Caliban as the only true character in the whole play, though coarse and unrefined he is evidently not a master of politics or scheming, such as the characters of Antonio and Sebastian, which has been learnt through the highest classes of civilised society.
In this, Shakespeare is saying that both nature and civilisation are equal, the only difference being that nature is not in a state of self denial. ?? ?? ?? ?? Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Tempest section.