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Colonial Language, Behavior and Identity Formation in Two Tempests


Colonial language, behavior and identity formation in Two Tempests Shakespeare in his last work, The Tempest informs the story of Proespero, the duke of Milan who is banished to an island. The conflicts throughout the play occur from the desire of power over nature and people. Prospero overtakes the power from the native individuals on the land and is defending his title; that has been stolen by his sibling.

The impact of colonization exists in The Tempest, and is demonstrated in the characters Caliban and Ariel; who become Prospero’s servers in order to get totally free.

Cesaire writes A Tempest, based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, to assist the reader comprehend its message much better. The theme stays the very same, however Cesaire emphasizes more deeply on the characters Caliban and Ariel. Cesaire provides them as individuals of the brand-new world, who are under the influence of a foreign power, Prospero. Cesaire provides Caliban and Ariel with a little different qualities as Shakespeare, revealing the crucial role of their language, behavior and actions.

The very first change that Cesaire made in A Tempest we can see at the start of the play where the author discusses Ariel as a mulatto slave and Caliban as a black slave. Their modification in color is significant because Cesaire expresses the post-colonial impact on the characters. The example of colonization exists by a white conqueror, Prospero, who takes control of the native people on the island, Caliban and Ariel. The two Characters, Caliban and Ariel are described differently in Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Cesaire’s A Tempest.

A Tempest is a post-colonial writing, and Cesaire forms his characters with stronger and more substantial attributes. Caliban’s personality becomes more important than in Shakespeare’s play. In The Tempest, Caliban is an insolent, uneducated servant who is controlled through magic by Prospero, while in A Tempest; he becomes an aggressive and specified black male. In The Tempest, we can see Caliban as a kid of a witch, Sycorax, who is a poor judge of character, imitating an animal and happy to get free.

In Cesaire’s play the way he enters the scene is already telling us that he becomes a strong and brave character with a character. Caliban’s word to Prospero, “Uhuru” (Cesaire 1. 2. 10-11), shows his rebellious attitude towards his master, letting him know about his eagerness to become free and independent on his island once again. “Uhuru” in Swahili indicates freedom and for Caliban indicates his life. With this word, Caliban is revealing to Prospero his defiance towards the situation, in which he ends up being a slave of his own land.

Caliban is the one who introduced the island to Prospero, and he expects to be treated with respect. Caliban is a fighter who is ready to pick death over humiliation: “Call me X. That would be best. Like a man without a name. Or, to be more precise, a man whose name has actually been taken. You talk about history and everyone knows it.” (Cesaire 18) With Prosepero’s arrival to the island, Caliban becomes a slave of its own land. In spite of troubles and his situation, Caliban does not quickly admit defeat.

The reality that he wants to be called X rather than Caliban, shows his fight for his free choice that he has as an individual. In Cesaire’s play Caliban becomes aware of his circumstance and he understands that a person can be considered a person, if that can take choices over himself. Prospero has power over Caliban, gives him a brand-new name, and with that Prospero takes his identity and his whole being as a human. This contrasts with Shakespeare’s play where Caliban’s fight for his personality is lesser; he simply exists and obeys as a slave.

Caliban represents the reduced classification of people who are under foreign trespassers’ power and forced to follow their commands. The language that Cesaire utilizes for his characters is more aggressive and eloquent than in Shakespeare’s play. Caliban is arguing furiously with Prospero, showing the injustice of Prospero’s power over him: “You lied to me so much, about the world, about myself, that you ended up by imposing on me an image of myself.” (Cesaire 3. 5. 22-24) The way Caliban speak with his master shows the tormented relationship that they have.

Caliban uses the language that Prospero taught him in a manner that reveals his anger and his suffering as a slave of his land. The way Prospero treats Caliban is an example of the colonized lands where the brand-new rulers utilized the native individuals for their advantage. The colonizer’s impact on native people exists by Shakespeare and Cesaire too, just in various languages. For Caliban, there is no importance in speaking Prospero’s language: “You taught me language, and/ my earnings on’t/ Is, I know how to curse.” (Shakespeare 1. 2. -4); he is required to do that in order to obey his commands. The colonization of the island removed Caliban’s own language, his name and his house that now he calls “ghetto”. (Cesaire 13) Shakespeare doesn’t focus as much as Cesaire on Caliban’s character. The language what he uses is from 1400s, and the characters are used mainly for their role in the play and not as a sign of the colonized lands as in Cesaire’s play. Altering the character’s color and language, Cesaire reveals the essence of the diversity in people and their important role in life according to their skin and language.

Ariel’s modification is considerable, too. He exists as a mulatto slave, which is another character of colonized lands. His identity is absolutely different from Caliban’s; he is the naive and obedient servant and not the fighter like Caliban. Ariel is representing the category of people who are ready to obey the master’s command and awaiting changes to happen. Ariel understands that Prospero utilizes him for his own purpose, and despite of all that, he approaches his jobs with interest, reporting any activities that he observes.

Despite the fact that Shakespeare describes Ariel as a sprite, he has human qualities; he is longing for his liberty. He is invisible, but his actions are necessary, and he reflects human feelings: “ARIEL. If you now see them, your affections/ would become tender./ PROSPERO. Dost thou believe so, spirit?/ ARIEL. Mine would, sir, were I human.” (Shakespeare 5. 1. 35-39) Throughout the play, Ariel, the mulatto slave, is described as a compliant server and is treated in a nice method relative to Caliban, who is treated horribly and threatened.

The different treatment of servants shows us that even between servants are categories, and they all have their location in world according to their skin color. In contrast with Shakespeare, Cesaire represents the 2 characters on a deeper level and focuses more on their personalities. Throughout the play, Cesaire describes Caliban and Ariel as 2 servants with various desires and places in the colonized land. Caliban is ready to combat for what comes from him, including his identity, in contrast with Ariel, who accommodates to the situation and waits for a better future.

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