Colonialism in The Tempest
In 1818, the English critic William Haziest as the first to point out that Prosper had usurped Clinical from his rule of the island and thus, was an agent of imperialism. This view provided the basis for modern interpretations of the Tempest as a post colonial work. Shakespearean Tempest is an amalgam of various pots colonial elements: Prosper is a European who has taken charge of a remote island, being able to do so because of his strong magic powers.
With these powers, he organizes a life for himself, gets the local inhabitants (Ariel and Clinical) to work for him, and maintains his control by a ambitions of threats, spells and enchantments, and promises of freedom some day. By taking charge of a place which is not his and by exerting his European authority over the strange non-European creatures, Prosper can be seen as an obvious symbol for European colonial power. However, Clinical is perhaps the strongest symbol of Post colonialism. Clinical, a native of the island, regards himself as the rightful owner of the place.
He bluntly states: “This island’s mine, by Scoria my mother, which thou takes from me. ” He is forced against his will to serve Prosper and Miranda. Initially, Prosper extends to Clinical his European hospitality, teaches him language, and, in return, is shown all the natural resources of the island by Clinical. But Clinical refuses to live by Prosperous rules, tries to rape Miranda, and their relationship changes to one of master and slave. Shakespeare represents as Clinical as an “ignoble savage. ” When Triathlon first encounters Clinical, he views him as some kind of monster.
After recoiling in horror from Clinical, Triathlon considers bringing the monster back to England where he can e displayed in a freak show: “Were I in England now, as once I was, and had but this fish painted, not holiday fool there but would give a piece of silver: there would this monster make a man; any strange beast there makes a man: when they will not give a dolt (coin) to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian. ” Triathlon is referring to the practice of “exhibiting” Indians for money in late 16th century England.
Such “freak shows” were highly profitable investments and were a Colonialism in The Tempest By fleeting jugular theatre to colonial policy under King James l. Clinical tries to help Triathlon find food, who might liberate him from Prosper, his current master and lord of the island. Clinical unctuously says: “l private, let me bring thee where crabs grow; And I with my long nails will dig thee pig-nuts; Show thee a Jay’s nest, and how to snare the nimble marmoset; I’ll get thee To clustering filberts and sometimes I’ll get thee young camels from the rock. Wilt thou go with me? Phaeton, the native chief, had provided the same services to John Smith’s colony. After half of the colonists died in the first year, Phaeton took pity and taught the colonists how to plant corn, beans, pumpkins, and squash. However, once the starving British colonists recovered their strength, they once again set about the task of enslaving the native population. The play ends with Prosper deciding to return to Europe and to decolonize his island and emancipate his slaves. The colonizer sets himself free as well. Prosper not only gives up his island, but relinquishes his magical powers that enabled him to control Clinical.