“The Tempest” is a very emblematic and symbolic play can also be related with the theme of colonialism and racialism. Caliban’s speech to Prospero has often be seen as a satire to the European conquest and suppression to the primitive people living in Africa and some parts of Asia and North America that existed during the 16th century during Shakespeare’s period. This process later came to be known as colonialism and racialism.
Colonialism, one country’s domination of another country or people—usually achieved through aggressive, often military, actions—and the territory acquired in this manner. The terms colonialism is sometimes used interchangeably, but scholars usually tell apart between the two, reserving colonialism for instances where one country assumes political control over another and using imperialism more broadly to refer to political or economic control exercised either formally or informally.
Racial Segregation, separation of the races where people live, or the public facilities they may use, such as schools, restaurants, public transportation, and stores. Racial segregation may be a government policy or a private practice of individuals, businesses, or institutions.
In this speech Caliban accuses Prospero of taking over him and the island just like a colonial ruler. The island used to be his own possession that he had inherited from his mother, Sycorax, who died. He says that when Prospero first came to the island he used to be very nice with Caliban and taught him the names of the sun and the moon and also gave him exceptional things like water with berries in it that he had never before seen at all in his life. Prospero was also very fond of Caliban and patted and caressed him. Caliban showed him the fertile and the barren and told him everything about the island. In this way Prospero gained the trust of Prospero. But then Prospero made Caliban his slave. And now he feels guilty and culpable that he had helped and served Prospero. He says that in those days he loved him a great deal but now he hates him. He says that Prospero is only robbing him of what belongs to him. Caliban says that now Prospero has segregated and confined him from the rest of the island and treated him just as if he was an animal.
This is why Caliban accused Prospero of taking over him and the island like a colonial ruler. But Caliban deserved to be a slave because he was very ungrateful and never listened to Prospero and also behaved very harsh and rude with Miranda. But Caliban had none other options because his hands were tied up before the magic of Prospero.
Therefore, we can see that the theme of colonialism and racialism is symbolized by “The Tempest”