Appearance vs. Reality in The Tempest

Caliban’s comrades are scared of the music they hear because they can’t figure out where it is coming from. Caliban assures them that there is actually no need to fear. What appears to be some sort of witchcraft to them is actually just a quality of the isle [supplied from Prospero’s sprite Ariel] which offers an interesting metaphor of things not being as they seem. Caliban goes on to tell his friends that these sounds are not only no reason to be afeard but have the essence of magic, causing the clouds in his dreams to “open and show riches.” So very magical were these dreams that Caliban refers to a time when he wanted nothing more than to return to the vivid and wakeful sleep that he so meticulously remembers [that when I waked I cried to dream again]. Trinculo, Calaiban and Stephanos’ hysterics throughout the play propagated by Prospero and his sprite Ariel, is to me a metaphor of fearing what we don’t understand. Because they can think of no possible way their very own song could be produced from the picture of nobody, they panic. I’m immediately reminded of the phenomenon of an echo. The drunken fellows fail to realize that they are on hallowed ground. They should show a personal respect for this cape [body of land extending into water: a relatively rare geograpical phenemonon], the very body of land that spared their life. Instead of trying to adapt to their hard condition, they abide in chaos. They choose fear over love, [not out of of choice] but because that is all they know.

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One thought on “Appearance vs. Reality in The Tempest

  1. Nice post. This scene is a good example of how” civilized “man must understand everything around him, vs the uncivilized man who just accepts the the natural world as it is. Ah, there’s the rub. Those closest to nature see and hear beauty all around. Those who cut themselves off from nature see and hear demons. In this light, I’d rather be Caliban.

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