The Tempest by Shakespeare Play Analysis Essay

In Shakespeare's “The Tempest” the native American character Caliban Is depicted as a monster who lives outside of society. He is also described as a born devil belonging to a "vile race". At the time the play was written lots of Native Americans were being paraded around Europe as if they were animals. There's no doubt seeing these people treated like animals made it very easy to see them as animals or non-human. Shakespeare's description of Caliban as ugly and barely Human can be seen as how the colonizers saw the native Americans. That in turn would make it very easy to justify the things they did by simply saying that they were bringing civilization to these "savages". In sort of a mirror to reality when Caliban first meets with Prospero he freely shows him the island much like the native Americans did after the first arrivals from Europe. 

Much like how Caliban showed what Shakespeare and possibly much of Europe thought of Native Americans, the same is true for Prospero the Europepenon protagonist of "The Tempest". In the play, Prospero is shown to be very smart and spends lots of his time reading and learning. 

I don't have anything else to add, so I would like to bring this concept to more modern times. Both in modern media demonization of the people, our military is dealing with and in some cases tries to justify their actions. For example, Caliban was a depiction of a Native American at the time where the colonization of America was barely starting, before the cultivation of tobacco. In "The Tempest" we are essentially told that Caliban would not be able to unlearn his savagely even through Education. A parallel could be seen in the show "24" a show where the main character is one of the only lines of defense in stopping the next terrorist attack. In the first few seasons, the terrorists were most often depicted as from the middle east. The show first premiered less than two months after the events of 9/11 so it is easy to see why it was so popular. Several times in the show the main character Jack Bauer uses torture as a way to extract information from a terrorist, it is justified because there it is shown as "the ends justifying the means". In the years that America was searching for Osama bin Laden, torture was used a lot to attempt to gain information, this rarely worked, and most often left then with fake info those being tortured would say anything to get them to stop.

How different races and ethnicities are depicted in the popular modern media of a time can often be a window into the opinions of those races and ethnicities that society as a whole regarding them.


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