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The Tempest

The Tempest


by William Shakespeare

The Tempest Freedom and Confinement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the 2008 Norton edition.

Quote #1

I prithee,
Remember I have done thee worthy service,
Told thee no lies, made thee no mistakings, served
Without or grudge or grumblings. Thou didst promise 
To bate me a full year.
Dost thou forget
From what a torment I did free thee? (1.2.294-300)

Servitude in Prospero's vision is a necessary gratitude for the kindness he has done. Does Prospero do anything in the play without expecting something in return?

Quote #2

This blue-eyed hag was hither brought with child 
And here was left by the sailors. Thou, my slave,
As thou report'st thyself, was then her servant,
And, for thou wast a spirit too delicate
To act her earthy and abhorred commands,
Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee. (1.2.322-327)

Ariel was initially in the witch's service, but refused to do her awful commands, which landed the sprite in a pine tree prison.

Quote #3

Abhorrèd slave,
Which any print of goodness wilt not take,
Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each
One thing or other. When thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes
With words that made them known. But thy vile
Though thou didst learn, had that in 't which good
Could not abide to be with. Therefore wast thou
Deservedly confined into this rock,
Who hadst deserved more than a prison. (1.2.422-436)

Some editions of the play attribute this rant against Caliban to Prospero. Others assign the speech to Miranda. Either way, the point is pretty clear. Here, the speaker suggests that because Caliban had no language of his own when Prospero and Miranda arrived on the island, he somehow deserves to be a slave "confined into this rock."  Scholars often point out that this is the same kind of rationale European colonizers used to enslave new world inhabitants.   

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