conjuring trick of the only 'seeming' shipwreck constitutes a rebirth for the survivors, who believe themselves rescued, and also entails their moral education. They find themselves alive and ashore, dazed and amazed, bewitched and they "pursue their old courses in a country new, but this time under a monitoring eye, and wand." ("Subtleties of the Isle" by Ruth Nevo, in Shakespeare's Other Language, pp.130-60)
Prospero controls with magic and the supernatural as the entire island seems enchanted and dream- like (see Caliban's speech in Act 3, Scene 2: "the isle is full of noises/ Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not"); characters are sent to sleep, made to slip out of consciousness, intoxicated by the island and Prospero's necromancy which allows him omnipotence on the island. Thus in this scene Miranda is put into a deep sleep to allow Prospero to converse with the spirit Ariel:
"Thou art inclined to sleep: 't is a good dullness,
It is through the conversation with Ariel that the audience learns of Prospero's intricate plots and use of his magic: the party of the ship has been split up and each party suspects the other dead, the crew have been sent to sleep. Ariel asks Prospero for his freedom and it is at this point that we are faced with the ambivalent nature of his power. He appears less benign but rather tyrannical and imperial in his retort accusing Ariel of ingratitude and unfolds the story of the crucial early days on the island. We learn for the first time the presence of others before Prospero and Miranda: Sycorax (a witch who had, when pregnant, been banished to the island) and her son Caliban "A freckled whelp, hag- born". Ariel had been confined in a cloven pine by the witch ("This blue-eyed hag"). Ariel's pleas for liberty to his master are met then with refusal and threats of violent punishment:
"If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak,
We can see here perhaps an abuse of his power that is further compounded by the appearance and treatment of Caliban as a slave:
"Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself
Prospero's labelling of Caliban as the devil's offspring, whilst hyperbolic, resounds with mythical significance: signifying the production of bestial and slavish races. Caliban is born and reared in the bestial state without 'nurture', culture or language. To Renaissance audiences this would strike a chord with ideas of ideas of sorcery, isolation and degeneracy as this "savage and deformed slave" would strike fear of the uncivilised and would seem to prove the value of the status quo: assumed hierarchical superiority. In Caliban and his mother Sycorax we are presented with nature at its rawest, wild and bestial, a "vile race".
With the entrance of the former Duke and his daughter comes the colonial movement as former power structures are re-laid in the context of the island; the island is worked, nurtured, territorialised, commodified and appropriated. Caliban is taught the master's language in order to ensure his subjection. Caliban's retort, "The red plague rid you/ For learning me your language!" takes the master's tool out of his command; Prospero's own language is then turned against him in uses unintended, and allows the slave to articulate his curses against his colonisers.
Caliban in return for Prospero's commands curses father and daughter insisting that Prospero is not only ruthless but hypocritical as he showed them the island when they first arrived, shared his knowledge but then was enslaved by him:
"the fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place, and fertile:
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