Ballads and Performance: The Multimodal Stage in Early Modern England

"The True Form and Shape of Caliban: Monstrosity and Wonder in 'The Tempest'"

Many critics have commented on what Julia Lupton identifies as the “indeterminancy at the heart of Caliban” (“Creature Caliban” 2). Deborah Willis suggests that “indeterminacy is an essential feature of his character” (“Shakespeare’s Tempest and the Discourse of Colonialism,” 330). Post-colonial critics such as Hall note that Caliban “embodies the contradiction and contest of border spaces,” but identify his difference in cultural and racial terms, arguing that Caliban “defies categories” of race and culture (Things of Darkness, 152). Höfele calls Caliban “Shakespeare’s liminal figure par excellence” (Stage, Stake, and Scaffold, 243). Most recently, Heffernan identifies Caliban as one of Shakespeare’s “border or limit humans” who “inhabit the internal fold of a boundary limning out what is humanly probable, humanly possible, and humanly proper” (Shakespeare’s Extremes, 18).

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