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A brief analysis of the character from The Tempest

The following article is reprinted from A Dictionary of the Drama. W. Davenport Adams. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1904.

Caliban, in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, is the "freckled whelp" of Sycorax. "The character of Caliban," says Hazlitt, "is generally thought (and justly so) to be one of the author's masterpieces.... In itself it is one of the wildest and most abstracted of all Shakespeare's characters, whose deformity, whether of body or mind, is redeemed by the power and truth of the imagination displayed in it. It is the essence of grossness, but there is not a particle of vulgarity in it. Shakespeare has described the brutal mind of Caliban in conctact with the pure and original forms of nature; the character grows out of the soil where it is rooted, uncontrolled, uncouth, and wild, uncramped by any of the meannesses of custom. It is 'of the earth, earthy.' It seems almost to have been dug out of the ground, with a soul instinctively superadded to it answering to its wants and origin." Caliban figures also in the Brothers Brough's travesty of The Tempest, called The Enchanted Isle.

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