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Home » , » Discuss the theme of colonialism as depicted in Shakespeare's The Tempest.
The Tempest by William Shakespeare is remarkable for various themes. Among many themes, the theme of colonialism is very remarkable. In this play, William Shakespeare has expressed the theme of colonialism which is more agreeable and more conspicuous. At the very beginning of the play, Prospero is seen as a colonial exploiter who was usurped by his own brother. He came to a distant e island and colonized it. He possesses supreme intellectual power with which he subjugates both Ariel and Caliban, two inhabitants of that enchanted island. Originally, this island belonged to Caliban's mother who was a witch. After her death, this island goes to Caliban. From Milan, Prospero came to this enchanted island and made Caliban his slave.
Immense love of power is strikingly seen in the character of Prospero's brother Antonio. He uses all kinds of unfair methods and enters into a secret agreement with Alonso, the King of Naples. According to the agreement, Alonso helped Antonio to drive Prospero from Milan. Alonso's brother Sebastian also seeks the same kind of power. Antonio wants to convince Sebastian that if he could kill Alonso, the way would be clear for Sebastian to become the King of Naples.

The plot and certain events of The Tempest have a literal resemblance with attitudes in English colonial history. Colonialism gave rise to certain problems. The colonist brought reports of the new settlements, the forms of government, and the social institutions prevailing there. Caliban's relationship with Prospero echoes the relationship of the civilized settlers to the savage and uncivilized natives. A civilized colonist like Prospero would teach the savage natives better ways of living and speaking according to his own ideals. But the efforts of the refined and civilized colonists would be fruitful as we see in the case of Caliban who represents a savage race.

On the other hand, the worse type of colonists like Stephano and Trinculo would debase the natives as Caliban is intoxicated with wine and urged to a treacherous action. Thus colonization raised various problems in The Tempest.

From the above discussion, we can say that American brutal horror and savagery colonization history seems to be reflected in The tempest. The theme of colonization is well expressed in this play very successfully.


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