“The Tempest” Is a Condemnation of Colonialism in the Negative

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The Tempest Is a Condemnation of Colonialism in the Negative
The nations that exist today are a system of governance that proves to be highly effective and thus has been accepted all over the world. This acceptance does not indicate satisfaction from every community because it is a system that had originated from Europe but was spread out during the colonial period (Brevik, Frank, 52). Most of the things that are done today and how they are done all had a point of origin before they spread to the rest of the world and this is the perfect way some communities lost their culture as a result of other cultures being brought to them and made to seem superior to theirs (Brevik, Frank, 73). Most of the cultural practices were lost during the period were Europeans termed themselves as workmen by making it seem that exploration was a white man’s burden and thus they had to make their culture apply on every new land they visited. Exploration was seen as a noble course by white men but it was in the real sense a camouflage of the actual name to their “exploration”, colonialism (Brevik, Frank, 104).
They did not want to seem evil thus they had to make it look like the real problem was on their side. However, their clever tactic did not escape the brains and eyes of famous scholars and erudite personnel of the time who did not hesitate to address the issue in their scholarly works (Brevik, Frank, 112). The period was filled with tension and thus, these scholars had to be very cautious in the process they would use to address the issue. William Shakespeare was one person who addressed the issue accordingly in his book The Tempest by using the character of Prospero to represent Europeans and his control over Caliban Island which acted as the land Europeans explored (Brevik, Frank, 125). This book brings out the positive side of colonialism without leaving out or hiding anything.
The book portrays the activities of Prospero from the moment he gains entry into the Caliban Island. Prospero begins with establishing his rule over the native population there because he realizes they have not made much of advancement in terms of technological advances such as ships that Prospero owns and firepower (Franssen, Paul, 107). On this basis, he concludes that the natives are primitive and thus he does not show any regard for their culture and pushes the people there to do things as per his culture because it is better. This move may be put by many other people as a move to trigger development for those people by introducing the perfect system of governance (Franssen, Paul, 152). Under this new rule, they will use a new language that which is introduced by the colonizers and thus they will be easily subjected to cultural changes in order to blend in the new culture into their lives. This move is on that side of view given a very positive concept and that can be linked to the type of view that Prospero gives for his activities on Caliban Island (Franssen, Paul, 170).
However, looking at this in a different form which is what is brought out in The Tempest to be false it is clear that the move is not at any cost of any profit to the natives of Caliban. For one, Prospero only looks at their culture as primitive and decides that it is his culture to up their living, this he does without considering the fact that these people did not even weigh his culture and determine whether the advances his culture has made are what they would consider sane or insane because probably that was not the way they would have wanted their culture to go(Shakespeare, et al, 78). Prospero imposes his rule over them on the basis that Caliban’s were not well developed and this does not fit well because he did not even consider that the system of governance that these people had been using before his entry, This is inappropriate because these people might have had a better system of governance that Prospero’s culture (Shakespeare, et al, 85). Ignoring the culture of the natives is a thing that Prospero is so vibrant about and he does away with every detail of their culture without weighing the odds and yet there were chances that these people could have proved useful in bettering at least a bit of Prospero’s culture (Shakespeare, et al, 96). Needless to say, Prospero threw away their culture by simply looking at the surface of their way of doing things and that was sure not the wisest thing to do (Shakespeare, et al, 100).
Colonization has been hidden in the under the mask of exploration which is definitely not a very bad thing to do because people will not see the good it brings about thus they have to be cheated into it. It is easy for people to buy that cover at first and allow the explorers into their lands but eventually this mask wears off and these people act in their true form (Shakespeare, et al, 111). Prospero goes into Caliban as an explorer but he eventually begins applying his rules on the people there and this reveals the true nature of explorers. The Caliban begins with introducing Prospero to the island because he is more familiar with its terrain and nature and thus helps to teach Prospero to survive on the island (Shakespeare, et al, 111). Despite the aid offered to Prospero, he teams up with the magical spirit Aerial and through them the island receives more visitors and this may either make the island suffer more as Prospero wishes or he may team up with the new visitors but either way his rule will remain over the island (Shakespeare, et al, 187). This may seem to be a positive strategy to better the island with the ways of Prospero’s culture but on a more detailed insight, it is not at all for the good of the island. The move is not for exploration basis but to have control of the island and use its resources to their own benefit (Shakespeare, et al, 196).
Relating this move to that by the Europeans after they discovered the existence of America and their actions in Africa, they made it seem like it was for the good of the world and the natives of these lands and that the burden was actually on their shoulders (Thomas, Vivian, 206). The tactic they mainly used was dividing themselves into three groups and these groups are what deceived people into believing that they were not doing it for themselves. The missionaries were mainly the first grouped that was kind and seemed defenseless and this gave the impression that Europeans were generally good and out to help people (Thomas, Vivian, 210). The explorers were the second who were also kind and provided a certain level of aid and they also provide knowledge on the resources that the new lands held and taught people of the essence of these resources and how they could be used to better their lives. Finally, the colonialists who were heavily militarized came and actually made use of the resources but only for the greater good of their nations and that of the natives (Thomas, Vivian, 210).
Prospero established his rule over the Island and blew the mother foundation of Caliban. Prospero treated Caliban as a half human and in everything he did, he always showed off his superiority over Caliban and that was mainly on the basis of racial boundaries (Thomas, Vivian, 216). The very description he gives of Caliban is enough for one to picture the fiend in his mind. Prospero places himself at the top of everything on the island and takes control of everything on it, he makes Caliban’s mother work as a beast would and treats her like she is so (Thomas, Vivian, 220). He goes ahead to make Caliban work for him as a mere servant and does not consider him human for a single reason (Linley, Keith, 54). This character is what is actually hidden behind the explorer thing and it comes out with time as it did with Prospero. Prospero takes in the sense of superiority and mistreats Caliban on his own island (Thomas, Vivian, 222). This sense of superiority is inbuilt because no one declared that he was superior to Caliban, this sense of superiority is what makes him push Caliban off the chair and he takes over the island and takes Caliban as another monster that is meant to serve him but he still seeks to enlighten him(Linley, Keith, 132). Such was the case when Europeans took over America and teach its natives to work on the firms that they established.
Colonialism is a thing that has changed people for ages and The Tempest clearly shows the whole version of colonialism from its start to its taking course and setting the foundation to the end which is total control of the new lands by the supposed “superior” population (Linley, Keith, 134). The Tempest majors in bringing out the ill side of colonialism which is actually the largest because its positive side is limited. Colonialism continues to date though in a mode that has undergone several transitions over the ages and thus it is up to people to figure out how it occurs and thus, avoid it.

Brevik, Frank W. The Tempest And New World-Utopian Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Discovery eBooks. Web. 29 May 2016.
Franssen, Paul. Shakespeare’s Literary Lives : The Author As Character In Fiction And Film. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Discovery eBooks. Web. 29 May 2016.
Thomas, Vivian. Shakespeare’s Political And Economic Language : A Dictionary. London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2015.Discovery eBooks. Web. 29 May 2016.
Linley, Keith. The Tempest’ In Context: Sin, Repentance And Forgiveness. Place of publication not identified: Anthem Press, 2015.Discovery eBooks. Web. 29 May 2016.
Shakespeare, William, Helen Stratton, Charles Lamb, and Mary Lamb. The Tempest. London: Alexander Moring Ltd., the de la More Press, 1904. Print.

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“The Tempest” Is a Condemnation of Colonialism in the Negative. (2022, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://essaylab.com/essays/the-tempest-is-a-condemnation-of-colonialism-in-the-negative

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