The Tempest Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
ARIEL I prithee,Remember I have done thee worthy service;Told thee no lies, made thee no mistakings, servedWithout or grudge or grumblings: thou didst promise To bate me a full year. PROSPERODost thou forgetFrom what a torment I did free thee? (1.2.10)
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?
PROSPERO This blue-eyed hag was hither brought with child And here was left by the sailors. Thou, my slave,As thou report'st thyself, wast then her servant;And, for thou wast a spirit too delicateTo act her earthy and abhorr'd commands,Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee. (1.2.36)
Ariel was initially in the witch's service, but refused to do her awful commands, which landed the sprite in a pine tree prison.
Abhorred 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 hourOne thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble likeA thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposesWith words that made them known. But thy vile race,Though thou didst learn, had that in't whichgood naturesCould not abide to be with; therefore wast thouDeservedly confined into this rock,Who hadst deserved more than a prison. (1.2.46)
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.