When I was reading The Tempest, I could not find myself liking the protagonist, or most human characters for that matter. Perhaps it was biased, because I found Caliban to be quite pitiable, and strongly resemble my favorite character, the Creature from the TV-series, Penny Dreadful. Prospero sought revenge, and abused his magical power to enslave others to serve his own needs. His daughter, Miranda, despite her innocent depiction, raised no objections to the cruel treatment of Caliban.
Caliban is depicted as savage, and animal-like throughout the play. However, his “evil,” is most often stemmed from the manipulations by others. And in a sense, he is perhaps the most innocent character in the play; much like animals in the wild, as they are never truly evil.
“Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow-creatures is amusing in itself.” – James Anthony Froude.
In Penny Dreadful, the TV-Series; the Creature is the medical creation of Victor Frankenstein. The plot is a reference to the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. In this series, the Creature experienced both the cruelty and mercy of mankind in one day; the day of his creation, as he was abandoned by his creator, beaten by a mob, and given food and kindness from a stranger. Later on in the series, the Creature gave himself the alias of Caliban, as he perhaps found many similarities he had with Caliban. Both the Creature and Caliban appreciates wisdom that comes from words, as Caliban feels indebted to Prospero, because he was given words by Prospero; and the Creature finds solace in words and poetries. Words, however, are also a form of torture for both of them, as words gives hope to the imagination, and the difference between imaginary, and reality; makes reality much clearer and crueler.
One of the greatest and most apparent similarities that Caliban and the Creature shared is perhaps their deformity; their often repulsed appearance that they were born/created with. From his creation, the Creature is covered in surgical scars, and is often judged and detested in appearance by others; this is much similar to Caliban’s treatment from others.
What I like most about the Creature is that he is the most compassionate of all characters throughout the series, despite the revulsion he receive from others. He has the strength of a giant, and is practically immortal, but he found no happiness in possessing strength, and immersed himself entirely in literature and poetries.
What Caliban and the Creature taught the audience is that “ugliness,” comes in different forms, and good and evil don’t always stem from their respective place.