By the time we meet Stephano and Trinculo we see a new side of Caliban. In the scene when we first see them we realise that they are in fact drunkard fools. We first think that Caliban is very gullible as he starts to worship Stephano and swears to “kiss thy foot”. This shows his absolute devotion to people. Some might say that he is dependant on others, yet I disagree. I feel that he is capable of being independent, in spite of that he prefers to be around other people for companionship, as he gets lonely.
His kindness is also shown as he says to Stephano:
“I’ll show thee the best spring. I’ll pluck thee berries. I’ll fish for thee and get thee wood enough. A plague upon the tyrant that I serve; I’ll bear him no more sticks, but follow thee, Thou wondrous man.” (II, ii, 161-165) This speech shows that what he did when Prospero came to the island was not a one off incident for Caliban to do.
In these lines he talks about showing Stephano where the best springs are and about fetching wood. This is very kind as often even ‘tamed’ human beings aren’t this kind. At this point the audience start to like Caliban.
However during this quote we realise how intelligent Caliban actually is: “The dropsy drown this fool.
What do you mean To dote on thus luggage? Let’t alone, And do the murder first. If he awake, From toe to crown he’ll fill our skin with pinches, Make us strange stuff. (IV, i, 229-233) This is taken from the part of the play when Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo are going to murder Prospero. This shows Caliban’s intelligence as in the cave he is not fooled by the rich garments and senses that they are a trick. This shows his intelligence is above Stephano’s and Trinculo’s as they are fooled by the clothing. This makes the audience actually start to respect Caliban. We also see his intelligence when he feel that to kill Prospero they must obtain his books as with them he is a threat and without them he is not.
From the lines at the top of this essay (“A devil..never stick”[IV, i, 189-190]) we can really understand one of the plays main themes. This is of course the nature/nurture argument. This is based on the fact that even though Prospero has supposedly tamed Caliban he feels that he has been unsuccessful. He feels this as Caliban really still relies on his natural instincts, even though he has supposedly been nurtured. Prospero feels that this is bad and that to be considered good and liked by people you must have been nurtured. You can however argue that even though Caliban relies on his natural instincts he is infact better than Antonio.
This is true as Antonio is planning to kill Alonso and he has already overthrown Prospero and basically left him for dead. These deeds have all been achieved by planning and scheming, and not by natural instincts like all of Caliban’s deeds have been. This was an argument that was being debated at the time of the play and most people at that time thought that nurture was better than nature. I feel that Shakespeare felt the opposite way about this argument and by doing this play he was showing a new side to the argument.
In the closing stages of the play Caliban realises that Stephano and Trinculo are not worthy of worship as at the end he says: “…What a trice double ass Was I to take this drunkard for a god, And worship this dull fool. (V, i, 295-297) After this Caliban is set free. This is lucky for him, as Prospero has mistreated him for a very long time. You also could argue that it was to avoid trouble that Caliban apologised, however this is unlikely as I feel that Caliban is a kind creature that is misunderstood. I think that Shakespeare wanted us to like him too; and for his audience at the time, he wanted them to realise their prejudice against people that looked unusual or different and change their views. Therefore Shakespeare didn’t want us to have the same opinion of Caliban as Prospero.