The Tempest "Superiority And Equality Themes "

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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The Tempest Essay Superiority and Equality Themes Our modern society is based on that all men are created equal. This means that all people no matter what race, religion, or sex are seen as equals in the eyes of society. However, in our history, equality was not seen as we see it today, especially in Shakespeare's time. In Shakespeare's time, society had a hierarchical way of classifying its people. In The Tempest, some characters are perceived as "superior" in contrast to others due to race, financial status and gender. On the other hand, we are also shown characters that are considered "superior", but treat others equally and with respect.

The superiority assessment during Shakespeare's time is most reflected through the relationship between Prospero and Caliban. Caliban, who was the previous ruler of the island, was looked down upon by Prospero because he was uncivilized and non-human, "A freckled whelp, hag-born""not honoured with A human shape."(I,ii,283-284)

This shows how people of different races, were thought and treated as inferior beings. Caliban was taught the language of Prospero and Miranda, and then forced to be their slave. "When thou cam'st first, Thou strok'st me and made much of me; wouldst give me Water with berries in't, and teach me how To name the bigger light and how the less, That burn by day and night; and then I loved thee, And showed thee all the qualities o'th'isle, The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place and fertile""Cursed be I that did so! All the charms of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats light on you! For I am all the subjects that you have, Which first was my own king,"(I,ii,332-342) Caliban once being a king of the island should have been treated equally with his nobility as king of the island but that...

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