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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Caliban's Father
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1490  Friday, 9 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	Janet Costa <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 7 Sep 2005 19:25:23 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father

[2] 	From: 	Nancy Charlton <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 08 Sep 2005 05:08:56 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father

[3] 	From: 	David Lindley <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 09:45:02 +0100
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father

[4] 	From: 	Steve Purcell <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 13:28:29 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father

[5] 	From: 	David Richman <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 09:54:53 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Janet Costa <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 7 Sep 2005 19:25:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1476 Caliban's Father
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father

Dennis Taylor

 >Has anyone argued that Caliban is Prospero's son by Sycorax ("this thing
 >of darkness I / acknowledge mine"). I know there is an occasional
 >tendency to make Miranda and Caliban contrasting "children", but has
 >anyone argued the ultimate implication?

I don't know if anyone has argued for Prospero's paternity of Caliban, 
maybe because Prospero tells Caliban that he was fathered by the devil 
himself.

Of course, Prospero also states that Sycorax was pregnant when she was 
brought to the island, dropped off by sailors, with only Ariel as a 
servant. Sycorax confined Ariel inside the pine tree for twelve years, 
and it's been twelve years since Prospero was set adrift with Miranda. 
If this twelve years presents a spot to argue that Propsero is Caliban's 
father, it puts a whole new spin on Caliban's rape attempt on Miranda. 
In my opinion, I don't think the text supports such a contention.

Janet Costa

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Nancy Charlton <
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Date: 		Thursday, 08 Sep 2005 05:08:56 +0000
Subject: 16.1476 Caliban's Father
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father

This is implied by Tad Williams in his novel, _Caliban's Hour_, the 
Tempest story told from Caliban's viewpoint.

Nancy Charlton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Lindley <
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Date: 		Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 09:45:02 +0100
Subject: 16.1476 Caliban's Father
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father

 >Has anyone argued that Caliban is Prospero's son by Sycorax
 >("this thing of darkness I /  acknowledge mine"). I know
 >there is an occasional tendency to make Miranda and Caliban
 >contrasting "children", but has anyone argued the ultimate
 >implication?

I do hope not! The 'back history' of the play is, of course, important 
to it in many ways - but the only way we know it is through the accounts 
we hear from Prospero, Ariel, Caliban and the lords.  They tell a 
consistent story, even if they weigh it differently. There is no reason 
to doubt the accounts.  They are the story as the playwright found it 
necessary to impart it - and the play allows us to question the 
attitudes its narrators embody, but not the 'facts' on which it is based.

David Lindley

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Steve Purcell <
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Date: 		Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 13:28:29 +0100
Subject: 16.1476 Caliban's Father
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father

The hint that Caliban may be Prospero's son was certainly present in Tim 
Carroll's production this year at Shakespeare's Globe, in which Mark 
Rylance's Prospero embraced Caliban during the final moments of the 
play. Rylance acknowledged the implication of this moment in a talk 
after the performance last week - he did however note that the 
chronology of the play's back-story made the suggestion problematic.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Richman <
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Date: 		Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 09:54:53 -0400
Subject: 16.1476 Caliban's Father
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1476 Caliban's Father

Caliban was on the island when Prospero arrived.  "Then was this island, 
/ Save for the son that she did litter here, / A freckled whelp, 
hag-born, not honor'd with / A human shape."  Twice Prospero suggests 
that Caliban is a son of the devil.  The source of the darkness is 
elsewhere.  David Richman

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