The Tempest I think this play is clearly dealing with the subject of colonialism yes, well that is a rather nieve view of the play in itself. One can site the European view that Caliban is an uncouth savage, and site the example of his rape of Miranda as proof. Prior to the entombment of Prospero and his infant daughter on the island Caliban had been living there for many years. It is this arrival per-se that infact corrupts him from being a Rousseau-esque noble savage to the monster that we see in the play. It is afterall the indoctrination of Prospero’s language and customs that leads Caliban to this nefarious act. This would certainly not have been the view of those Europeans watching the play.
The issue of colonialism is not as clear as JHP would have us believe. Had Shakespeare intended it to be a play on colonisation then there would not be the turn away from goodness to evil as shown by Caliban, rather it would be the other way round. Colonialism is only an obvious response to the play, and if one views it in this view one is ignoring the vertable plethora of allegory. The response of colonialism confuses (or even dilutes to an unacceptable simplistic form) the allegory pertaining to the apotheosis of Prospero. Caliban is not a native of the New World. Caliban is the antithesis of Ariel, that is why he is a base creature.
Caliban provides a balance to the dicotomy of the play, as such without there would be no deeper interpretation, or even issue for argument. The play is a play of religion. Ariel is spirtuality, Caliban is not, Caliban is if anything the Europeans. He has turned away from his master Prospero/God, and has become vile. How can we Europeans return to the Good Life? The same way that Caliban did in the end, by returning to a more bucholic way of life.
If one refers to Act 2 and Gonzalo’s speach beginning I’ the commonwealth… Rather than being a clear reference to colonialism Shakespeare is calling for a return to a more bucholic way of life. He is critisising the Machavellian (excuse the spelling) rule of Antonio+Alonso+Sebastian, and that entire issue of sovereignty. The misleading view of colonisation comes from the question, where one places Prospero in that issue of sovereignty? Is he just as bad as Antonio . or is he the archetypal Reneisance ruler, whose only fault is a Faustian noble Quest for knowledge.
The play is not one of Colonisation but of religion and the corruption of society. Gonzalo realises that the island is a Utopia remeniscent of a Platonic Republic. This island is where the society is not corrupt, and that the washed up neopolitans can in fact return to this way of life right now. I think this play is clearly dealing with the subject of colonialism. Caliban clearly owns the island since he is the original habitant on it, but when Prospero settles the island, he enslaves not only Caliban, but also Ariel who also inhabits the island.
After Prospero and Miranda set up residence, they bring others to the island, as did the earliest settlers in the New World (though unlike in the New World, Prospero uses magic to bring the others to his home). Sociology Essays.