The Tempest: Caliban Unjustly Punished
Through Prospero’s verbal and physical abuse, the enslaved Caliban is unjustly
portrayed as a vicious and subhuman beast. Prospero has no feelings for Caliban.
Therefore he thinks that Caliban was put on earth for work. Additionally
Prospero just thinks he makes fires and does work for him so people should not
have sympathy for him. ” We cannot miss him. He does make our fire, Fetch in our
wood, and serves in offices That profit us – What ho, slave, Caliban.”
(Shakespeare 35) This shows that he is overworking Caliban and that he is just
a piece of property. Also, Prospero thinks he is always moving slowly. When
Caliban is first coming into the play, Prospero yells “Come forth, I say.
There’s other business for thee. Come, thou tortoise. When?” ( 35) This a prime
example of Prospero harassing Caliban because Prospero feels he is not working
efficient enough. In addition Prospero orally abuses him by saying rude things
like, “Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself Upon thy wicked dam, come
forth!” (35) Prospero is scolding him saying he is evil. Prospero then goes on
to call him, “Thou most lying slave,” (37) because he accuses him of raping
Miranda, Prospero’s daughter. He then orders Caliban to get fire wood. He
doesn’t understand that Caliban has feelings. In conclusion, Prospero is
depicting Caliban as a subhuman beast, someone he isn’t.