Thoughts from, and on, The Tempest

The left-hand side is an extract from The Tempest, which Shakespeare wrote as attention turned toward the New World, and what and who lay in store there. The dialogue is between the magician Prospero and the 'monster' Caliban, the only true native remaining from the island that Prospero and his daughter made their home.

    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 hour
    One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,
    Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
    A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes
    With words that made them known. But thy vile race,
    Though thou didst learn, had that in't which good natures
    Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou
    Deservedly confined into this rock,
    Who hadst deserved more than a prison.
    You taught me language; and my profit on't
    Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
    For learning me your language!


We know Shakespeare had read about 'the cannibals', and
he penned an ugly but pure fool who, to drink alcohol, would gladly
give up his island to two newly arrived buffoons that had
introduced grog to him.  Then,
        "[B]e my god"
        "Come, swear to that; kiss the book: I will furnish it anon with
         new contents"
The innocent guy tried to rape Miranda, though.  So, what did the
Bard think about 'the Ind'?  Are we better?  Post-colonial thought
says many a word guaging that.
  Did he think _our_ land's role utopia or a home of curious monsters?
He might think either pick right enough.
  The perspective of the play, to guide us or a noble savage:
        "O brave new world [...]!"
        "Tis new to _thee_."

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