CSEC English


Hello there! We con­tinue our stud­ies in Shake­speare’s play, The Tem­pest. To help you pre­pare for the English A exam, we take an­other look at how to do a sum­mary. Read on, and en­joy!

ENGLISH B— Episode 6: Cal­iban’s claim to own­er­ship.

Euro­pean ex­plor­ers in the 16th cen­tury brought home ac­counts of the New World they had ‘dis­cov­ered’. They wrote of ‘mon­strous’ an­i­mals and of peo­ples with strange cus­toms—and nat­u­rally they of­ten ex­ag­ger­ated! They clearly be­lieved in the ‘find­ers keep­ers’ rule, so you will see Trin­culo and Stephano dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of cap­tur­ing Cal­iban and tak­ing him back to Europe as a kind of cir­cus ex­hibit or per­haps of­fer­ing him as a gift to some em­peror. (Act 2: ii) Pros­pero, too, as­sumes that he has ev­ery right to claim own­er­ship of the is­land. But what about Cal­iban’s claim? • Cal­iban claims that the is­land is his, be­queathed to him by Sy­co­rax, his

mother, and that Pros­pero has stolen it. • As a gra­cious host, he of­fers to show the Euro­peans the de­lights of the is­land—wa­ter with berries and so forth—but is then ill-treated and en­slaved. • He is re­quired to learn the lan­guage of the Euro­peans and then is crit­i­cized

for not speak­ing well. • He is made a ser­vant/slave to Pros­pero, and sub­jected to vi­cious pun­ish

ments. • He is de­nied ac­cess to Mi­randa (who is deemed su­pe­rior to him). • His mother is named a witch, and he him­self is called a mon­ster, sub-hu­man

and in­ca­pable of be­hav­ing in a cul­tured way.

Does Cal­iban’s story sound fa­mil­iar?

For some 300 years af­ter The Tem­pest was writ­ten, au­di­ences ap­par­ently ac­cepted Pros­pero’s story, and dis­missed Cal­iban’s claim. More re­cently, au­di­ences have started to see Cal­iban as the vic­tim of col­o­niza­tion: he is ‘named’ and si­lenced and con­trolled by the col­o­nizer, and his rights are sys­tem­at­i­cally stripped away. This way of re­spond­ing to the play is an ex­am­ple of a “post­colo­nial read­ing”. Here’s a ques­tion for you to think about: Does Shake­speare give Pros­pero the right to rule the is­land sim­ply be­cause he is a Euro­pean, or be­cause he has the qual­i­ties of a good ruler? mu­sic sur­round­ing them) is a sym­bol of di­vine bless­ing and har­mony in so­ci­ety—achieved when all re­bel­lions are sub­dued, and author­ity placed in the right hands.

The game of chess played by Mi­randa and Fer­di­nand is a sym­bol of the wis­dom, self-con­trol, or­der and skill that will bring suc­cess both to their mar­riage and to their fu­ture ac­tions as rulers.

The mar­riage of Mi­randa and Fer­di­nand sym­bol­izes the peace and unity that their two (for­merly hos­tile) na­tion states will en­joy. Read the fol­low­ing pas­sage and then sum­marise, in not more than 115 words, the rea­sons given for the im­por­tance of study­ing and un­der­stand­ing Re­li­gion.

• Step 1 Un­der­line the ma­te­rial you need in your sum­mary. (We have done

this for you by ital­i­ciz­ing the sec­tions). • Step 2 Write out the se­lected ma­te­rial in your own words, avoid­ing rep­e­ti­tion or ex­am­ples il­lus­trat­ing a point. • Step 3 Re­vise your work, en­sur­ing that you have the cor­rect num­ber of


It’s hard to imag­ine any sub­ject more im­por­tant to study and un­der­stand than Re­li­gion. More im­por­tant than Maths? Or French? Or Physics? Or En­gi­neer­ing? Well, let’s at least say that it is equally im­por­tant, though maybe for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. There are three main rea­sons why it is so es­sen­tial to un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate what re­li­gions are, and why they mat­ter so much. The first is that re­li­gions are ex­tremely dan­ger­ous. Think of all the evil and vi­cious things which have been done in the name of Re­li­gion: peo­ple have been tor­tured and burned alive; holy wars and cru­sades have been fought; whole groups of peo­ple have been kept in sub­or­di­na­tion and sub­jec­tion—out­castes, slaves, women in re­la­tion to men. And think also of the many dif­fi­cult and ap­par­ently in­sol­u­ble prob­lems in the world at the present time which have a re­li­gious part to them: North­ern Ire­land, the Mid­dle East, the apartheid sys­tem in South Africa, the di­vi­sion be­tween com­mu­nist coun­tries and oth­ers. It is not the case that re­li­gions alone cre­ate those prob­lems, but it is cer­tainly true that Re­li­gion has a part to play in them. If we want to live in a more peace­ful world, it is im­por­tant that we un­der­stand what there is about Re­li­gion which makes be­liev­ers so pas­sion­ate in their com­mit­ments and in their di­vi­sion from each other.

But there is a sec­ond rea­son why it is wise to study and un­der­stand Re­li­gion: re­li­gious be­lief has been the in­spi­ra­tion, not only of great vi­o­lence and ha­tred, but also of al­most all of mankind’s great­est achieve­ments, in art, po­etry, mu­sic, ar­chi­tec­ture, spir­i­tual ex­plo­ration and dis­cov­ery. The creative power of Re­li­gion is enor­mous in all parts of the world. And this is still true. To take just one ex­am­ple, we have just lived through one of the one of the great­est ages of Chris­tian po­etry that has oc­curred in the world his­tory of Chris­tian­ity. Of course, we are so close to it that it is hard to see it, but it is in fact the case that the last hun­dred years have seen an al­most mirac­u­lous flow­er­ing of Chris­tian vi­sion, and also of Chris­tians grap­pling with the re­al­ity of evil. So Re­li­gion is not dis­ap­pear­ing or fad­ing away. It is chang­ing its forms of ap­pear­ance and ex­pres­sion, but it re­mains a vi­tal and creative force in many lives. In­deed, it is still the case that the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple alive on the planet to­day are com­mit­ted to some form of re­li­gious be­lief. And that leads to a third rea­son why it is so im­por­tant to study and un­der­stand Re­li­gion. Re­li­gions are con­cerned with the ques­tion of eter­nal life, with what may ul­ti­mately and in the end—and for ever—be the case. If it is the case that your life can find its rest in God and can abide in Him/Her for ever, it is ob­vi­ous that the is­sues which re­li­gions set be­fore us are a great deal more im­por­tant than a choice be­tween corn­flakes and por­ridge for break­fast. Of course, it may be that what re­li­gions claim is false—it may be that there is no re­al­ity cor­rectly de­scribed as God in whom we can find our eter­nal life. But we can scarcely know whether that is so be­fore we make some ex­plo­ration our­selves.

(From the Fore­word by John Bowker to 1986)

Re­li­gions of Man

by Roger Whiting,

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