Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

5-7-2014

Degree Program

Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2014

Month Degree Awarded

May

Advisor Name

Luis

Advisor Middle Initial

A.

Advisor Last Name

Marentes

Co-advisor Name

Joselyn

Co-advisor Last Name

Almeida-Beveridge

Abstract

William Shakespeare’s (1564-1616) theatrical work The Tempest was first performed in 1611 at the court of James I. Since the XVII century until today this work of art has travelled the world and has been (re)interpreted from the perspective of multiple ideologies. This thesis seeks to understand the representations and uses that Caliban has had in different spaces and historical moments. The anti-colonial interpretations of Roberto Fernández Retamar authorize us to read metaphorically the current socio-political situation of Latin immigrants in the United States through the perspective of The Tempest. The first chapter of this thesis studies and critically analyzes the way in which the character Caliban is negatively constructed. This chapter concludes that many of the critics that are cited base their interpretations of Caliban not necessarily on textual evidence but rather on their own colonial and oppressive ideologies. To illustrate this tension I present a detailed analysis of the supposed rape of Miranda by Caliban, I analyze Caliban’s poetic voice and give historical context of the theatrical work’s production and its critical reception by the European literary tradition. The second chapter seeks to present an ideological and analytic counterpoint to this European tradition. This chapter presents the anti-colonial project of Roberto Fernández Retamar who throughout his many essays on Caliban turned this character into a symbol of Latin-American and revolutionary identity. In this section I study the evolution of Fernández Retamar’s thinking through his many essays on Caliban. To understand the importance of his literary reinterpretation I analyze the Cuban historical context of the 60’s and 70’s while paying particular attention to the controversies surrounding the “Padilla affair”. The third chapter applies a metaphorical historic reading of contemporary Latin communities in the United States using the characters of The Tempest. This chapter seeks to centralize the importance of the feminine voice in this theatrical work by combating the supposed silence of Sycorax, Caliban’s mother. In this section I do a detailed textual study to demonstrate that Sycorax, even though she has no lines of her own, is an important character in the play and can be seen as a correction to a long masculinist trajectory that has silenced the importance of women in colonial literature. This last chapter seeks to synthesize the analyzing and theorizing of literature, the studying of social movements in Massachusetts and the political and social status of Latin people using Sycorax + Caliban as an identity metaphor.