Title: The Colonialism Behind the Mastery and Servant Bond in Shakespeare’s The Tempest
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies and Theory
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Wan-Lun Tsao, National University of Kaohsiung, Taiwan
This essay examines the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized in Shakespeare’s The Tempest by exploring how colonialism affects Caliban and how he fears and hates his colonizer, Prospero. In the meantime, it investigates the master and servant bond between Prospero and Ariel and explains how it is different from the relationship between Caliban and Prospero. Through a close examination of the bond between the colonizer and colonized in The Tempest, I argue that both Prospero’s attitude towards Caliban and Ariel reflects the colonizing culture of Europe at the time. On the contrary, looking through the colonized eyes, how their colonizer affects them mentally and psychologically. Delving into the definition and foundation behind colonialism in the play, I intend to explore the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized deeply. In doing so, I hope to find the mentality of the colonizer and the colonized via the tension between Prospero’s mastery and Caliban’s servitude. Furthermore, as the only indigenous character in the play, the essay also examines how Caliban’s race affects the master-servant relationship. The subtle bond between Prospero and Ariel is significantly different from Prospero and Caliban’s but similar in a deeper level of being controlled by their colonizer. The essay first compares Ariel and Caliban’s characterization to examine the colonial relationship, then investigates the psychological conflicts between Ariel and his mixed feelings toward Prospero. Through such an exploration, I aim to probe into the European colonial culture in the play.
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