The Tempest Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the 2008 Norton edition.
You taught me language, and my profit on 't
Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language! (1.2.437-439)
There's a lot to dislike about Caliban but his provocative retort to the above passage is pretty admirable. Here, he talks back and insists that one good thing came from learning his master's language—the ability to curse.
No, pray thee.
[Aside.] I must obey. His art is of such power
It would control my dam's god, Setebos,
and make a vassal of him. (1.2.447-450)
Caliban doesn't think he deserves to be in servitude for his attempt to rape Miranda, nor does he have any remorse. His servitude is simply the result of power politics—Prospero's magic makes it impossible for Caliban to be free.
[to Ferdinand] Follow me.
[To Miranda.] Speak not you for him. He's a traitor.
[To Ferdinand.] Come,
I'll manacle thy neck and feet together.
Sea-water shalt thou drink; thy food shall be
The fresh-brook muscles, withered roots, and husks
Wherein the acorn cradled. Follow. (1.2.555-561)
Prospero does have a knack for thinking up really nasty enslavements. When he enslaves Ferdinand, one wonders if he was always like this, or if this can be attributed to his getting comfortable as "king of the sandcastle" over the last twelve years.