We can only fully understand Shakespeareâs Caliban if we consider his career as a servant and student in Prosperoâs âcell.â Critics have long acknowledged that this career is key to Calibanâs character in the playâs current moment, but they typically say little about the mundane ways that service and education were supposed to influence early modern young people. As training-grounds for life, early modern households and schoolrooms were supposed to equip servants and students with a hierarchical world-view and flexible capacities for political action. Caliban speaks and acts like someone who absorbed such training in Prosperoâs âcellâ and who subsequently became disillusioned by it. Reading Caliban in this way illuminates aspects of his fraught and critically contested history with Prospero and Miranda as well as the playâs relationship with early modern cultures of service and education more generally.
Studies in Philology – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Apr 6, 2016
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