ALL NEW: hastily assembled extra close analysis practice before the SAC!

The Tempest is a kind of fairy-tale, an allegory in which it is more important what the characters represent, than who they are as a psychologically plausible "character". Here we analyse what they represent through the language Shakespeare writes for them.

A spirit, and antithesis to all that is physical, Shakespeare highlights Ariel’s transient nature through pentameter, lengthy sentences and frequent use of commas and semi-colons. Representative of the elemental power of nature, Ariel’s existence and dialogue flows, rarely interrupted by full-stops. Appearing on the ship in Act I to “flam’d amazement”, the imagery of flames can be likened to his flickering existence. When Prospero asks Ariel about the state of the “king and his followers”, Ariel speaks of their “sorrow and dismay”. He subtly pushes Prospero’s compassion to the surface, “that if you behold them, your affections would become tender.” Ariel can be interpreted as representative of moral conscience, and to a greater extend, Prospero’s own – their interactions are frequently unified by shared pentameter. Significantly, Ariel reminds Prospero that he is not “human”, and hence unable to feel emotion. Therefore, any emotions that Ariel showcases are feflections of Prospero’s own heart and conscience. He is Prospero’s vessel, answering to his “best pleasure” and often only visible to Prospero – Airel does not interact with other characters as himself, but only in transformations according to Prospero’s wishes, reinforcing his ethereal nature and his connection to the usurped magus’ psyche. When Ariel gains his “liberty”, he vanishes “into thin air” and without a word, leaving Prospero to melancholy ruminations on his own mortality. Ariel’s being is indeed, as Prospero profoundly assures us earlier, “such stuff as dreams are made on.”
[PHUONG, with tiiny edits from MRA]

Whilst early critics of the tempest often thought of Caliban as nothing more than savage, post-colonial critics have found Caliban to be of more subtleties and complexities. Caliban represents a subject of colonialism a “noble savage” such as described in Montaigne’s essay “of cannibals” (where is natural is synonymous with what is good). In the play he is Prospero’s slave, a subject to colonialism. His island was usurped by Prospero which ironically happened to Prospero himself. Caliban is opposed to Prospero who he claims stole the island from him, and made Caliban his slave. Despite similarly wanting his liberty like Ariel Caliban naively decided to serve Stephano and Trinculo instead where he says “How does thy honour? Let me lick thy shoe.” Initially Caliban was treated well but after Caliban’s attempt to rape Prospero’s daughter Miranda his relationship with Prospero turned sour. In Act 2, scene 2, Line 1-~10 shows Caliban with very coarse language he curses Prospero with real hatred and spite which shows his torment as a subject or Prospero “You taught me language; and my profit on't Is, I know how to curse”. The red plague rid you for learning me your language!. Despite being hundreds of years ago Shakespeare echoes in an undertone a colonial concern, such as the mistreatment of slaves, and even through a crude humour such as Trinculo’s phrase “when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian” and Caliban’s words “That's a brave god and bears celestial liquor. I will kneel to him.” as well other things show the severely damaging concept of colonisation upon these native inhabitants. Despite being coarse and savage Caliban delivers some of the most sophisticated & intricate speeches in the play “Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises, sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.” Caliban here shows himself capable of using speech in a most sensitive and beautiful way, again hinting at the idea of the highly influential essay “of cannibals” and its term “noble savage”. Caliban also serves as a direct antithesis of Ariel; Caliban represents the earthly and visceral while Ariel represents the spiritual and transient. He is also contrasted with Ferdinand while Caliban is a savage and Ferdinand is a gentleman of honour. Caliban enters with logs and Ferdinand is forced to do the same in his punishment, they are also both interested in undoing Miranda’s “virgin knot” but Caliban intends to rape her and Ferdinand wants to marry her. Ultimately Caliban through his appearance, forced servitude, and his native status on the island have led many readers to interpret him as a symbol of the damaged cultures suppressed by European colonial societies. Calibans language also suggests that maybe his cruelty is only expressed through the language taught to him by Prospero, his master “Thing of Darkness, I acknowledge mine” while internally it hints that he is perhaps more noble at heart.
Vassili Anikeev, Its pretty rough tho feel free to alter wherever u think needs more evidence or is a bit sloppy.

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Caliban is presented as a bestial creature connected to the earth and nature; the visceral antithetic counterpart to the wispy, ethereal character of Ariel. Representing perhaps the belittled peoples of a colonised land, Caliban and Prospero have a master-slave like relationship, where Caliban the natural is kept by Prospero and his supernatural arts. Shakespeare also exhibits his ironic mindset when Caliban, intent on his emancipation from Prospero submits himself under Stephano, Trinculo and “the bottle”. Despite somewhat feral characterisation, however, Caliban can also be described as a ‘noble savage’ as a result of the colourful prose and verse he speaks, contrasting the supposed more noble members of the king’s party: Stephano and Trinculo. Prior to the scheme on Prospero’s life, Stephano and Trinculo speak in plain prose empty of the “class” they supposedly possess. One the other hand Caliban speaks in eloquent prose which is perhaps best seen during Act 3, scene 2 in which he tells his companions to “be not afeared” of the island’s strange noises. Here, though the verse is unrhymed, Caliban speaks in a pentameter filled with imagery of the island from the “clouds”, “airs” and “noises”. His speech also seems natural in that it is empty of the phony, pompous style of speech which Trinculo and more so, Stephano have developed. Addiotionally, this verse does not only exhibit the poetic nature of Caliban’s rhetorics, but also give glimpse to his mind. One that is not filled with basic, ‘uncivilised’ thoughts, but in fact filled with vivid ideas and imagination that are not easy to contain and is perhaps only limited by the language he has been taught to him. Painting his character in this way that prompts audiences to question if Caliban or the likes of him are indeed “savages” or uncivilised at all.