The Tempest by William Shakespeare
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Date Added: 2001-01-31
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By J. Robert Bell on August 19, 2008
The Tempest, Shakespeare's final solo work, is an exceptional allegory for European imerialist colonialism in the New World. The conflict between the sorcerer Prospero and the "savage" Caliban speaks volumes about how the Europeans usurped Native American land and mistreated the indigenous cultures of North America, nearly wiping them out. Every scene of the story fits into one aspect or another, which becomes more and more clear as you research European exploration and colonialism. The question of whether Caliban is truly "savage" or as civilized as the European visitors who usurp island will always be a point of debate, but a breakdown of the European characters' actions shows that they are at least as savage as Caliban. This play is a fun read, though it helped me to have an academic copy with footnotes to explain the now-uncommon English word usage. As a side note, Prospero's soliloquy at the end is regarded as Shakespeare's farewell to the craft.