Caliban’s Showing Hostility against Prospero in Act 2 Scene 2 : The Tempest Question Answers

Caliban’s Hostility Against Prospero:  Act 2 Scene 2 

Question : How does Caliban act towards Prospero ? Do Stephano and Trinculo seem kinder or more respectful to Caliban than Prospero ? What makes Caliban decide that Stephano must be a god ?

 Caliban’s Showing Hostility Against Prospero:

       In general, Caliban’s manner towards Prospero is hostile and his action towards the former Duke of Milan reflect this negative opinion. Caliban has good reason to hate Prospero and criticise him.
      Prospero is the former Duke of Milan and lives in exile on the island after his throne was usurped  by his brother Antonio. The island was originally ruled by Sycorax, an evil witch overthrown by Prospero. Upon his ascendence to power, prospero forced Sycorax’s deformed and monstrous son Caliban, into his servitude.  When the play opens we see Caliban bitterly acting as Prospero’s servant.
     Caliban hates Prospero and he even makes no secret of his feelings. He openly curses Prosero in Act 1, Scene 2 saying –
      “All the charms
     of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you ! “

    When Prosero says that he (Caliban)  did not know how to express his need and his wants in words and that it was he ( Prospero) who taught him the language of human beings. Then Caliban replies that he had certainly learnt the human language but that he uses that language only to utter curses.
    “You taught me language;  and my profit on’ t
    Is, I know how to curse”
  Then Caliban utters a curse upon Prospero saying:  

    “The red plague rid you 
     For the learning me your language ! “

    This hostile relationship is also seen in post colonial terms. For instance, Prospero can be seen as the colonizer, who conquers the natives, teaches them according to western traditions, but also forces them into slavery. 
    Caliban likewise, is the archetypal native who has lost his cultural sovereignty. In this contrast, Caliban’s hostility can be seen as akin to various rebellions against colonial powers in India, Ireland and elsewhere.

Stephano and Trinculo being Kinder and more Respectful towards Caliban:

   In the play Stephano and Trinculo appear to be kinder and more respectful towards Caliban than Prospero is to Caliban, this is one of the reason why Caliban decides to follow their rule instead of continuing to follow Prospero. 
    However, Stephano and Trinculo still see Caliban as a base creature, and they only use him to try to gain power on the island. Caliban says that he will show the two the secrets of magic on the island.  Stephano and Trinculo think that this will be their key in usurping Prospero and taking  Miranda for themselves.  So although they do not speak cruelly to Caliban in the way that Prospero does, they still do not truly respect Caliban in the play.

Caliban’s Thinking Stephano to be a God:  

    Caliban thinks the Stephano is a god because Stephano gives Caliban some magical liquor. This happens when Stephano is walking around, drinking. He sees Caliban lying on the ground then he goes over to investigate about that bizarre four – legged creature. He can not really figure out what Caliban is, but soon he finds Trinculo out from under Caliban’s coat. The two tell each other how they have escaped from the shipwreck. During their talk Caliban cries out trembling in fear, he imagines that prospero’s spirits have come to torment him. 
      Stephano, in  order to cure Caliban from his fear and ague, pours some of the liquor that he was drinking, into Caliban’s mouth.
    Caliban has apparently never drunk liquor before and he thinks  that it must be something that would come from the gods. 
   “That’s a brave god and bear celestial liquor 
     I will kneel to him “.

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