At the beginning of the Tempest, Prospero finds two other inhabitants on the island, Caliban and Ariel. Ariel is portrayed as a mythical being coming from the heavens; he acts upon explanation and motive, being connected with God. Caliban, on the other hand, represents a creature descending the devil. He acts upon instinct, and is a creature of the wild. Both of them desire freedom, but Caliban is the one who is enslaved by Prospero.
Prospero, being the Duke of Milan, also controls Ariel in order to help him succeed in his study of magic. This magic keeps Caliban subjugated under Prospero’s control. It seems simple to understand the relationship between the three- Prospero has two servants and their names are Caliban and Ariel. But really, Caliban seems enslaved while Ariel seems more as an “indentured servant. ” Why should Prospero favor Ariel more than Caliban?
They both contribute to the same amount of work and both are under Prospero’s control. It is obvious throughout the play that Prospero enjoys the company of Ariel more than Caliban, as Caliban tries to kill him and Ariel is a peaceful kind spirit. But looking through the postcolonial lens, it seems as if Caliban deserves nothing less than Ariel, as he has as much knowledge and leadership as Prospero. Throughout the whole play, Prospero uses harsh language upon Caliban, and vise versa.
This shows that Caliban once had love for Prospero, but is now angry with Prospero for taking his island. While Caliban is ordered to fetch wood and make fire, Ariel is given more important tasks, as Prospero depends on her. Caliban is usually reluctant to complete the orders of Prospero, while Ariel is willing to help his master. Simply, Prospero is the master of two beings: one being good, and the other being bad. Ultimately, the relationship between Ariel and Prospero completely juxtaposes between that of Caliban and Prospero.
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