Who’s the real villain in The Tempest? Is it Caliban, the monster? Or Prospero, the all powerful wizard who physically tortures him on stage?
I enjoyed this article on Deeds and Words called Is Caliban a Bad Guy? that attempts to answer this question, taking the position that maybe Caliban’s not quite so bad as we think.
Caliban’s supposed evil acts are all enumerated – and defended. Did he really try to rape Miranda, or was it more a case of hormonal adolescents who didn’t have any moral structure to know any better? Sure, he tries to overthrow Prospero, but come on, the guy tortures him and keeps him as a slave, isn’t Caliban allowed some level of anger at the man?
It’s not a small article, and as you read you’re left with a well balanced but perhaps misunderstood Caliban. That is until a certain line that comes out of his mouth, which would have likely been a throwaway line to Shakespeare and his peeps, sets the article’s author on edge and casts Caliban back down among the beasts.
What’s the line, and is that a legit interpretation? I’ll leave that as a surprise, we have to show some trafficky love to the original article after all…. :)