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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: May ::
Re: Caliban
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0796  Monday, 3 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Dana Wilson <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Apr 1999 09:48:59 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban

[2]     From:   Andy White <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Apr 1999 20:42:55 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban

[3]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Saturday, 1 May 1999 06:57:03 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban

[4]     From:   Adrian Kiernander <
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        Date:   Sunday, 02 May 1999 23:53:14 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban

[5]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Monday, 3 May 1999 11:01:22 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Wilson <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Apr 1999 09:48:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 10.0788 Q: Caliban
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban

Jack wrote:

>At the end of "The Tempest," Prospero frees Ariel,
>of course, but does
>he allow Caliban to remain on the island, or might
>he take him back to Milan?

Prospero Bassi was the name of a famous Florentine alchemist.  In my
opinion, Caliban and Ariel are both alter-egos of Prospero.  In order to
be freed from his exile, Prospero must learn to integrate these two
elements of his self, what Nietzsche and Jung call "integrating one's
shadow".  The fact that Ariel is only able to make negative confirmation
(thou liest) give us a valuable clue about this process.  For instance,
under a neo-Boulean construction the proposition "do unto others as you
would have done to yourself" is not in substance distinct from the
proposition "do not unto others as you would not have done to
yourself".  The fact that Ariel is mentioned in the book of Isaiah may
indicate where Shakespeare learned this mode of reasoning.

Yours in the work, I am,
Dana

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andy White <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Apr 1999 20:42:55 -0400
Subject: 10.0788 Q: Caliban
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban

One of the more amusing takes on Caliban's absence from the returning
party has Caliban creeping back into the cave.  He retrieves some of
Prospero's stuff, and starts perusing a book of charms.

Tempest II -- Caliban's Revenge.

At least, that's how I prefer to think of it ..

Cheers,
Andy White
Arlington, VA

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Saturday, 1 May 1999 06:57:03 -0500
Subject: 10.0788 Q: Caliban
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban

I hope not, for Caliban is a dark image of Prospero himself and is
treated comparably: As Prospero has been unseated by his brother, so has
Caliban been unseated by Prospero;  Prospero is returned to his rightful
office, Ariel has been released, Caliban will be left to "govern" his
island - although he has been educated by Prospero and there is promise
that he  may grow out of his wicked ways.

L. Swilley

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <
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Date:           Sunday, 02 May 1999 23:53:14 +1000
Subject: 10.0788 Q: Caliban
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban

To Jack Hettinger

>At the end of "The Tempest," Prospero frees Ariel, of course, but does
>he allow Caliban to remain on the island, or might he take him back to
>Milan?

Sorry, but Prospero does not free Ariel at the end of The Tempest. He
says he's going to, but he's been saying that from the start of the
play; and right at the end Ariel is given yet another order to obey-one
which will presumably take him several days to complete, long after the
play is over. So neither Ariel nor Caliban is freed, at least not in the
script I've read.

Some famous productions (like Jonanthan Miller's) have tried to suggest
what happens post Prospero, but there's nothing in the text which will
answer the question.

Adrian Kiernander

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Monday, 3 May 1999 11:01:22 GMT
Subject: 10.0788 Q: Caliban
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0788 Q: Caliban

Where Caliban finally ends up is absolutely open.  Though there's a good
deal of traditional weight behind the idea that he regains power in his
island kingdom - think of Browning, Auden, or the famous performance by
Beerbohm Tree in 1904 which concluded with a tableau in which Caliban
watched the ship containing Prospero leave. etc.  etc., - it's perfectly
possible that when Prospero acknowledges the 'thing of darkness mine' he
is simply drawing a parallel to the return of Stephano and Trinculo to
their master, Alonso, and therefore a future in which Caliban returns to
Milan still as Prospero's 'slave'.  He does, after all, permit Caliban
to return to the cell from which he has been banished since his
attempted rape of Miranda, and gestures towards a future in which
Caliban can look to have ' pardon' - which might seem pointless unless
he imagines Caliban as still part of his household.

Aime Cesaire, in Une Tempete, of course, imagined a very different
scenario, in which Prospero himself was unable to leave the island, and
remained along with Caliban, locked in the battle which he must now
lose.

It seems best to regard this as, like the response of Isabella in
Measure for Measure to the Duke's proposal of marriage, a deliberately
untied loose end, which resonates precisely because of its irresolution
- though unlike the earlier ambiguity, it's not one which a production
actually has to face up to in an explicit fashion.

David Lindley
School of English
University of Leeds
 

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