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In the Tempest, Shakespeare uses complex characterisation of Caliban and Prospero and uses their conflicting master-slave relationship as a vehicle to express the theme of colonialism. Through the overpowering dialogue that Prospero displays towards Caliban when he first discovers the island, it is clear that he holds no value or respect for Caliban as he states that when he arrived on the island, it wasn’t “Honoured with a human shape”, which Caliban argues “this islands mine which thous’t taks’t from me”, – symbolising the europeans conquest over the native inhabitants of which Caliban embodies and the analogy Shakespeare conveys of the illegal claims on inhabited lands made by the European colonisers after disaffirming the “humanity” of the natives. Ultimately, through the complex characterisation of Caliban, Shakespeare creates an oft-ignored and subjugated character of whom embodies the world of colonisation, one of the many victims of colonial rule and exploitation caused by Prospero’s insolence and de-humanising values. However, Caliban also represents the force that strikes back on the coloniser, which is evident through his epiphany which symbolises his authentic discovery of his changed, renewed sense of self-value as he calls into question his contempt for Prospero by coming to understand the un-realistic world that he has been a slave too, by Prospero, which ultimately allows Caliban to have a renewed understanding of the world and his realisation of being able to curse at the coloniser “You taught me language, and my profit on ’tIs I know how to curse”. Therefore Caliban uses at what first was Prospero’s gift to him, as a weapon to rebuke and curse Prospero and have changed ideas, values and understanding of the real world.

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