The Tempest : First meeting of Caliban with Prospero in Act 1 scene2

 First Meeting between Caliban and Prospero in Act 1 Scene 2 of “The Tempest “

Question  :  Give an account of the first meeting between Prospero and Caliban in Act1 Scene 2 ?

Answer:   Caliban is a half – human and half – monster son of a witch, Sycorax. He is of an evil nature, is engaged in wicked projects and uses abusive language. 

      Prospero controls him by his magical powers and uses him to bring fuel – wood and do other sundry jobs for him.

    When Prospero calls him, Caliban does not come out. On being insisted by Prospero to appear  immediately before him, he comes quite in an unwilling and sulking mood, and begins cursing. Caliban says – 

“As wicked dew as e’er my mother brush’d /

With raven’s feather from unwholesome fen/

 Drop on you both ! A south – west blow on ye / 

And blister you all o’er ! “

   Prospero promises to punish him  by giving him cramps  at night and Caliban responds by chiding  Prospero for imprisoning him on the island that once belonged to him alone. He reminds Prospero that he showed him around when he first arrived. 

    Prospero reminds him of all the favours he has done to him. He treated him kindly when he was unable to express mhis needs and wants in words. Prospero accuses Caliban of being ungrateful  for all that he has taught and given him. He calls him “lying slave”  and reminds him of the efforts he made to educate him and taught him the language of human beings.

    Caliban’s hereditary nature, he continues, makes him unfit to live among civilised people and earns him his isolation on the island.

     Caliban admits that he had been kind to him. But then later he changed his behaviour. He curses him for teaching the language of human beings. Caliban says – 

“You taught me language, and my profit on’t /

 Is I know how to curse. The red plague rid you  /

 For learning me your language ! “

 Caliban learned the language  to speak and express himself, but he uses the same language to abuse and curse Prospero.

  Prospero tells him that if he had not proved ungrateful to him by trying to rape his daughter, he would have continued to be kind towards him. But by his action and words he has shown his essential evil nature.

   Caliban gleefully accepts that he had certainly tried to rape Miranda and that he had succeeded in his attempt, he would have begotten many children by his union with Miranda.

   Prospero snubs him and threatens him to inflict many torments upon him if he does not fetch firewood. Caliban unwillingly goes away to carry out his orders.

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