Contrast is defined as a method of comparing two objects to allow their differences to stand out. In the play, The Tempest, Ariel and Caliban, display many distinguishing characteristics.
Ariel is a spirit associated by goodness and magical powers while Caliban is the product of Sycorax and the devil, the most evil creature known to humans. Perhaps it is because of this main reason, their backgrounds, their loyalty towards Prospero and their roles in the play are unlike.Ariel, an immortal who performs magic for good deeds, is the spirit of the air. He can be classified as the maker of every strange phenomenon on this island. Some of his works are casting spells to raise storms, separating the crew, creating music to attract Ferdinand or to distract Caliban and summoning other spirits and immortals. In the play, Ariel allies with or sometimes is one of the good spirits from the element air, fire and water. Since air is everywhere, Ariel has the power to sing sweet songs and become invisible. His relationship with fire is seen in the tempest as he destroys the ship.
During the catastrophe, he mischievously sets fire and lightning to “burn in many places; on the topmast, the yards and bowsprit.” (Act 1, scene 2, lines 199-200) Ariel has the power to control water too. On one occasion, Prospero asks Ariel to “go make [himself] like a nymph o’ the sea.
” (Act 1, scene 2, line 301) Because of his magic, Ariel is constantly misunderstood as a godly figure. At the banquet, Ariel, who dresses as a harpy, makes an entrance with thunder and lightning. Alonso, who is partly guilty for Prospero’s ban from Milan, cries that “it is monstrous, monstrous! Methought the billows spoke.” (Act 3, scene 3, lines 95-96) However, it may also be his enchantments that he doesn’t own human thinking or traits, unlike Caliban.Caliban is a deformed earthly creature who is half fish and half human. Trinculo once describes Caliban as “a fish…
legged like a man and his fins like arms!” (act 1, scene 2, lines 25, 33) In this play, Caliban is the master of chaos. His mother Sycorax is known to have been allies with the devil himself. Caliban, himself acknowledges his relationship with evil and the dark elements such as “of Sycorax, toads, beetles [and] bats.” (act 1, scene 2, line 340) Despite Prospero’s efforts teaching and loving Caliban, in the end, he is still “a devil, a born devil on whose nature nurture can never stick; on whom [Prospero’s] pains, humanely taken all, all lost, quite lost.” (act 4, scene 1, lines 188-190) Caliban’s thinking also resemblance as an animal.
Instead of feeling guilty for his attempted rape of Miranda, he argues that if Prospero “didst prevent [him], [he] had peopled else this isle with Calibans.” (act1, scene 2, line 351) While Ariel is the singer of the sweet tunes about nature, Caliban is the listener. His love for the nature and dreams, however, enables the audience to feel sympathetic towards him as they see his human side.
He describes himself how sometimes, after he wakes up, “[he] cries to dream again.” (act 3, scene 2, line 142)Even though Prospero treats both of his slaves kindly at first, Ariel and Caliban’s loyalty towards Prospero vary greatly. Before Prospero came to the island, Ariel was trapped in an oak tree, imprisoned by Sycorax. When Prospero arrives and releases him, Ariel is very thankful. In return, Ariel “ha[s] done [him] worthy service; [tells] [him] no lies, [makes] [him] no mistakings, serve[s] without or grudge or grumblings.
” (act 1, scene 2, lines 247-249) It is interesting when Ariel asks Prospero “do you love me, master?” (act 4, scene 1, lines 48) This shows that Ariel views Prospero not only as his master but as a fatherly figure too. Only once does Ariel asks for his liberty.Caliban, on the other hand, is rebellious towards Prospero. When his master calls Caliban out, he reluctantly comes out. Because of his sluggish speed, Prospero calls him a “tortoise” and promises “cramps, side-stitches that shall pen [his] breath up.” (act 1, scene 2, lines 325-326) Caliban, finding the punishment unfair, curses Prospero and that “the red plaque rid [him] for learning [Caliban] [his] language!” (act 1, scene 2, lines 364-365) He hates Prospero so much that he wishes ” a plaque upon the tyrant that [he] serves.” (act 2, scene 2, line 122) However, Caliban used to love Prospero as his father until his attempted rape on Miranda.As Prospero’s messenger and only communication to the people on the island, Ariel also acts as a peacekeeper.
The invisible fairy, generally, is engaged into tasks commanded by Prospero. He creates melodious music to direct characters in the play from one place to the Prospero’s desired destination. Sometimes, it is also a sleep spell to be cast on the travelers. At the banquet, Ariel passes a message to Antonio, Alonso and Sebastian for Prospero. His image as a harpy is much more powerful than Prospero himself because right away, “their great guilt like poison given to work a great time after, now begins to bite the spirits.” (act 3, scene 3, lines 103-105) Also, Ariel is Prospero’s savior because he informs Prospero about Caliban’s evil usurpation plans with Trinculo and Stephano.Caliban, along with Antonio and Sebastian, are the sources of chaos in the play.
Throughout the whole play, this savage’s main goal is to destroy Prospero. After the tempest, Caliban meets Trinculo and Stephano, who treat him as a friend. Since Caliban hasn’t felt wanted for such a long time, “[he] swear[s], upon that bottle, to be [their] true subject.
” (act 2, scene 2, line 122) He even kisses Trinculo’s foot to prove his faithfulness. He decides to use his new friends to help him accomplish his goal. He tells them of his cruel plans to kill the “tyrant”.
He constantly reminds his new masters that the first step of the plan is to burn the Prospero’s books. After possessing his books, then they can “with a log batter his skull, or paunch himself a stake or cute his wezand with [his] knife” (act 3, scene 2, lines 88-90) Fortunately, the plans don’t work out.In all tragicomedies, the forces of good always overcome evil. The Tempest is not an exception. Ariel, even though viewed as a powerful figure, is still obedient towards Prospero.
In return, after Ariel’s tasks are completed, Prospero grants him his freedom. Caliban’s nature and his determination to kill Prospero never creased in the play. Although he is one of the villains, Prospero still forgives him in the end, along with Antonio and Alonso, making the ending a happy one.