The nimblest marmoset

Another of the main themes in the play is the role of master and servant. This is primarily linked with Prospero and Caliban, although there are other times when Ariel is involved and, in this extract especially, where Caliban changes master. There is reiteration in this passage because when Prospero first discovered Caliban on the island, he used him to uncover the ‘qualities’ of the island, because Caliban is the only character in the play that truly understands and loves nature, like the ‘fresh springs’ and the ‘brine pits’ and then imprisoned him as his slave and kept him away from ‘the rest o’th island’.

In this extract, this theme of enslavement is when Stefano thinks that if he could get Caliban back to Naples, then he could put him on show and people would pay to see him. To get Caliban to go with him, he acts really caring and attentive towards him, like Prospero did, and befriends him. Caliban goes along with Stefano and starts to show him ‘the best springs’ and how to ‘snare the nimblest marmoset’.

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However, he does not go with him as if a friend, unknowingly Caliban has resorted to being Stefano’s slave because being enslaved is the only thing that Caliban has been doing for the past twelve years with Prospero and Miranda and so unintentionally, he is not actually free, which is what he believed he was, but he has only moved from one master to another and, having an insight into Stefano’s plans for Caliban, he could possibly be a much worse master than Prospero ever was.

This is one of the cases in the book when dramatic irony is involved. The theme of usurpation has also entered in this because Stefano has usurped Prospero as the master of Caliban. There is also a major repetition of the theme of colonialism. This is shown when Stefano and Trinculo persuade and use Caliban for their own advantages. When Stefano answers Caliban’s question of ‘Hast thou not dropped from heaven? ‘ and says ‘Out o’ th’ moon, I do assure thee. I was the man I’ th’ moon when time was. ‘ This is a parody of the settlers.

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