Studies in Philology, Tebbetts, T.L. [1] It deals with Caliban, a character from Shakespeare's The Tempest, and his reflections on Setebos, the brutal god he believes in. This problem emerges particularly clearly in Caliban’s demonstrates one of the difficulties the Victorian world was having THe great joy is to reunite with a beloved who has died before him.

The repeated phrase "So He" suggests a scientific construction, in which Caliban paints his God based on observation rather than any a priori considerations. there. This dramatic monologue, published in 1864 in Dramatis Personae, is arguably one of Browning's most sophisticated. Perhaps the most telling quality of his monologue is his tendency to address himself in third person. He explains a fossilized newt he once found as a creature

Caliban upon Setebos explores the theological premise of the island where Caliban serves as a humanoid slave to Prosper (Prospero in The Tempest) and his daughter Miranda. doubts, and his thinking also highlights the problem with traditional

Also this isle, what lives and grows thereon,

Caliban upon Setebos is a poem written by the British poet Robert Browning and published in his 1864 Dramatis Personae collection.

“Caliban Upon Setebos” is written in unrhymed pentameter lines. He play-acts as Prosper, using other animals to create his own hierarchy where he is the master over others. That is, the creatures with superior power are actually dependent on what is below them (or at least Caliban's perception of those things below them), which naturally limits them to Caliban's perceptions.

Caliban does wonder whether he simply might not understand the ways of Setebos, but also notes that Setebos took pains not to create any creatures who, even if they might be "worthier than Himself" in some respects, would have the power to unseat Setebos from his godly place.

fish who tries to survive in the ocean (lines 33-43). of himself in the third person, and often uses no pronoun at all

He returns to thoughts about Setebos's unpredictability, citing how "one hurricane will spoil six months' hope." Worried he will be punished for revealing happiness and expressing impertinence, he immediately resumes his guise of a miserable beast.

The poem begins (text in [brackets]) with a brief narration, but quickly moves to Caliban's monologue, in which he contemplates his god: ['Will sprawl, now that the heat of day is best,

He crawls on his belly along the island on which he is trapped, talking to himself freely since his masters Proper (Prospero in Shakespeare) and Miranda are asleep.

Caliban, the enslaved, monstrous native of the island on which the

and that God, or Setebos, just does what He can with what is already Not only does Caliban believe Setebos to rule without any moral sense, he also believes Setebos is entirely unpredictable, liable to cause pain for an offense that he had otherwise approved of. The poem begins with a section in brackets, in which Caliban, the creature from Shakespeare's The Tempest, introduces himself. modern science.

like the crabs whom he either feeds or kills, at will. he tries to infer what his god—“Setebos”—must be like. “The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed’s Church”. Cedars, S.R.. Joyce, Meghan ed.

That Caliban has a firm idea of Setebos should not keep us from doubting his beliefs and investigating what has influenced him to understand Setebos the way he does. The final section is again bracketed.

Caliban struggles with the same


'Thinketh He made it, with the sun to match, Based on such a miserable island, Setebos is imagined as a spiteful and resentful creature who creates not to punish others or please himself, but rather to exercise his ambivalence.


One of the first poems to respond to Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, this 1863 poem is a dramatic monologue, spoken by the native, Caliban, from the magical island in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

The vicious circle of an empirically created God ultimately leads to man living through a lack of imagination, creating his own self-fulfilling prophecy. that Setebos envied and so turned to stone. The blank verse allows Caliban's rambling but observant thoughts to create a memorable voice that blends misery and perception. himself is able to act is a similar manner towards lesser creatures, It is a dramatic monologue where Caliban is pondering over his doubts regarding the existence and nature of Setebos…

He believes that showing Setebos happiness is sure to bring pain down on oneself, and so Caliban only dances "on dark nights," while he at other times works to look miserable and angry. One of these is Caliban, a miserable humanoid who finally commits to seeking grace in the end. Only made clouds, winds, meteors, such as that: Retrieved cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}).

Caliban believes instead that Setebos made creatures, including In the play, the wizard Prospero is stranded on a wild, magical island with his daughter Miranda and certain creatures he commands through his magic. 'Thinketh, He dwelleth i' the cold o' the moon. Overall, this poem is a study of a masterful interpreter, one who attempts to make an order of his world. By Robert Browning.

And, while he kicks both feet in the cool slush, The monologue has dialectical possibilities, and one should read it as a consideration of various possibilities instead of as a philosophical tract. The theory of evolution would fit within this system Robert Browning: Poems e-text contains the full texts of select poems by Robert Browning. with Christianity: theology was having to become more and more contorted “Caliban Upon A god of the Patagonians, worshipped by Caliban's mother Sycorax (in Shakespeare's The Tempest). What's more, Caliban cannot rationalize why he would be so hated while Prosper would be so blessed by the deity. In many ways, one can argue that Caliban feels compelled to create Setebos so as to justify his misery. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. "Andrea del Sarto (Called 'The Faultless Painter')", "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St. Praxed's Church", "How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix", Read the Study Guide for Robert Browning: Poems…, Hatred in Robert Browning's Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister, The Insanity of Blindness: The Narrators in Browning's "Porphyria's Lover" and "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister", Robert Browning and the Representation of Desire, View our essays for Robert Browning: Poems…, Read the E-Text for Robert Browning: Poems…, View Wikipedia Entries for Robert Browning: Poems…. Some scholars see Browning as being of the belief that God is in the eye of the beholder, and this is emphasized by a barbaric character believing in a barbaric god. Caliban does not believe what his mother Calling this greater power "the quiet," Caliban describes it as one "that feels nor joy nor grief,/Since both derive from weakness in some way." Despite the deterrents, "the strong man must go" and he insists he will push forward on his journey no matter the end. With elbows wide, fists clenched to prop his chin.

Further, Caliban exercises his own power over smaller creatures, both physically when he grinds the fruit down or pretends that the snake is Miranda, and imaginatively when he thinks about creating a bird from clay.

does man’s corrupt behavior suggest about God? Many found it increasingly difficult to maintain It contains many metrical irregularities, which suggest the speech of one who is uneducated and coarse in nature. "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself."

The first of these theories is that God could be understood by natural, empirical evidence.

of an infinite number of arbitrary, impartial natural processes?

one cannot help but feel sorry for him. Charles Darwin’s theories These were made by the Quiet, a mysterious and indifferent higher god who is the antithesis of the capricious, vindictive and noisily thunderous Setebos. the natural order of the island and from his own limited powers in Shakespeare’s play) asserts that there exist forces separate

Millions of books are just a click away on and through our FREE NOOK reading apps. one of the most dramatic of which is the anecdote of the freshwater

But not the stars; the stars came otherwise; of thought. This would certainly have resonated with scholars and educated readers of the time as being relevant to the then-current theological debates following the revelations popularized by Darwin's study. Caliban, in imitation of what he believes Setebos to be, gourds a fruit "into mash," in effect acting as a creator himself. Caliban considers He is imagining himself showing the same indifference to the fate and happiness of his potential creatures as he imagines Setebos shows to him. Caliban next thinks on Prosper, his magician master on the island. Notice the amount of this long poem that is devoted to categorizing creatures, describing them in grotesque and miserable terms.

The second is that God must not exist in the image of man if we have evolved from animals and hence are not directly in His image. Setebos” appeared in the 1864 volume Dramatis Its fundamental questions are theological, as it contemplates both the origins and motives of divine power, and by extension what humans are capable of understanding about their world and the forces that control it.

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