Theme of Nature Vs. Society in The Tempest : Act 3 Scene 2 ISC long Answers t

The Tempest:  Act 3 Scene 2 

Theme of Nature Vs. Society 

Question : Draw a contrast between nature and society in context of  “The Tempest”?
Or Question:  How is the theme of nature Vs. civilised man shown in ” The Tempest” ?

Answer:   One of the most pervasive theme of The Tempest is the contrast between nature and society.
   Caliban is the central figure here. Caliban represents a being of pure nature. The character of Prospero represents the civilization. these characters can also be seen as the colonized and the colonizer. The relationship they have is very complex and is a constant struggle much like any relationship between a colonizer and colonized. 
     Caliban represents a colonized figure and Prospero is colonizer. Caliban is the only creature that is native to the island where Prospero and Miranda live.
    In the play, Prospero, the former Duke of Milan, after being supplanted of his dukedom by his brother, arrives on an island. He frees a spirit named Ariel from a spell and in turn makes the spirit his slave. He also enslaves a native monster named Caliban. these two slaves Caliban and Ariel, symbolize the theme of nature versus nurture or civilization.
    Caliban is regarded as the representation of the wild, the side that is usually looked down upon. The conventional Renaissance view that society is, by definition, civilized and good. But the man outside of society, in his natural state, is uncivilized and bad.
     Caliban lacks civilized influence due to the fact that he was born on the island deprived of any social or spiritual morality other than nature and instinct. He is literally man untamed.
     The audience first learn of Caliban from Prospero’s description to Ariel, in which the child of the witch Sycorax, is described as  
   “A freckled whelp, Hag – born – not honoured with /
     A human shape “
   The audience learn more about Caliban’s physical description from Trinculo and Stephano, who describe Caliban as less then human. Trinculo asks if the form before him is “a man or a fish ?” and Stephano describes Caliban as a “moon calf”, a deformed creature. 
    But it is not his appearance that makes Caliban monstorous prospero’s eyes, nor was Caliban treated as a slave -at least initially. Caliban himself, relates that Prospero treated him well, teaching him about God, when the two first met. But it was Caliban’s attack on Miranda that resulted in his enslavement and the change in Caliban’s social position. 
     Caliban sees the attempted rape of Miranda as a natural behavior. Had he not been stopped, Caliban would have   
   ”peopled else / This isle with Caliban”

      Reproductive urges are a natural function of animals, but humans modify their desires with reason and through social constraints. Without reason to modify his impulses, Caliban’s behavior aligns him with the animals. Yet at the same time, he is clearly more than a beast.
      Caliban also represents the force for striking back on the colonizer Prospero. Prospero came to the island where Caliban and his mother Sycorax were dwelling and and forcefully took the island from him. It is typical colonial practice. Prospero represents the world of civilization.
     In the eyes of the colonizer the native inhabitants were always barbarians. This stereotype works in the case of Caliban too. He is treated as a beast by Prospero and learns how to use language. Prospero feels it his duty to teach and civilize the savage. Caliban is pure nature, not corrupted from the influence of civilization. after Caliban is taught to use language he is being molded according to the image of the colonizer but the colonized can never be equal to the colonizer.
    Caliban stands for the force that strikes back on the colonizer. After he learns how to use language he says that the advantage of it is that he knows how to curse Prospero.
     He uses the weapon given by Prospero to rebuke and curse him for what he has done to him. 
     Caliban, part fish, part man, but not really either because he is more mentally sophisticated than a fish, but devoid of any characteristics generally associated with civilized beings. It is impossible to fully tame a wild animal, which is what Caliban essentially is. Caliban is more of an animal rather than a monster.
       The theme of the natural versus the civilized  man is once again shown as Caliban the natural man shows civilized pretensions and cunningness. He calls Prospero cunning, though he himself is no better. There is sufficient merit about his anger over Prospero for robbing him of his island ; it was a crime that colonialists were guilty of in North America. They had displaced the natural habitat of the tribals where ever they reached. 
       Caliban plans to take revenge by murdering Prospero with the help of Stephano and Trinculo, who are symbols of the European way of life.
    Caliban’s behaviour suggests many questions about what is natural and what is unnatural. Is the attempted rape of Miranda or the plot to murder Prospero  a natural behaviour ? These acts represent Caliban’s attempts to survive, but this is not acceptable behaviour among civilised men.
     These are actions of wild, untutored animals. Caliban demonstrates no sense of morality nor any ability to understand or appreciate the needs of anyone other than himself.
    In Caliban’s self centredness, he is little  more than an animal. He wants to indulge his desires, without control. This is what being free means to Caliban, whose cry for freedom clarifies many of his actions.
     Another example of the theory  that civilisation corrupts, can be seen through Prospero’s usurpation – this event only happens because Antonio is too concerned with materialism and power, which can be viewed as traits of civilisation – through Sebastian and Antonio’s plot to kill the king, and through Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo’s attempt to murder Prospero.
      These plots suggest that civilisation changes humans by encouraging them to be greedy for material wealth and power.
     Similarly, the idea of both Stephano and Trinculo taking Caliban to Europe to be displayed in a side show for making a fortune also throws light on civilised men. Civilisation can produce more savage and evil beings than nature. These actions presents the men in extremely poor lights, as without civilisation and this suggests that they, perhaps sometimes more than Caliban, are monsters rather than men. 


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