Slavery about having your own slave in this society

Slavery plays an important
part in the history of mankind. It is one of the darker pages in this history
but also one of the most interesting. It is nearly impossible to think about
having your own slave in this society which will force you to go back in time
when slavery was normal. Due to history classes and the movie 12 Years A Slave
I became interested in the topic slavery and after some research this resulted
in the novels Robinson Crusoe and The Tempest. My parents have Robinson Crusoe
at home and in third grade I played a role in The Tempest so the choice was
easy. Given the fact that everyone’s character differs, the time that these
novels are written (1719 and 1611), will result in differences in these two  relationships between slave and master. But
how do the relationships differ in these novels?

Firstly, these relationships differ
in their friendliness and respect. Where the relationship between Crusoe and
his slave is built on respect and trust is the relationship between Prospero
and his slave built on force, violence and power.  This all began with their first encounter. When
Crusoe colonized an island, he meets a man who becomes his servant named
Friday. During their first encounter, Crusoe saves Friday from being eaten by
other cannibals: “and he came nearer and nearer, kneeling down every Ten or
Twelve steps in token of acknowledgement for my saving his Life.” (223)
Although they have a master-servant relationship, their bond is unique. Friday
seems to be very grateful to Crusoe for saving his life and willingly becomes a
servant to Crusoe. This will also affect their relationship later in the story.
Crusoe stated that Friday “kneeled down to me, seeming to pray me to assist
him, and he became my servant.” (218) Crusoe’s attitude towards Friday is
pleasant and open-minded “I smiled at him and looked pleasantly, and beckoned
to him to comes still nearer(234). The difference in language between Friday
and Robinson Crusoe which makes it difficult to communicate with each other so that
it could present a barrier in their relationship; however, Crusoe is so keen on
Friday that he teaches him to speak English. Friday transforms during these
lessons from his master into a grateful servant who is now able to communicate
with not only his master but with society as well. In addition, knowing how to
speak English gives Friday a chance to escape from the island: a chance he
never takes because he stays loyal to the man who saved his life and taught him
how to speak English. Although Friday is Crusoe’s “servant” because he performs
duties for his master, Crusoe also views him as his companion and close friend.
In Shakespeare’s play named The Tempest, Prospero is banned from his own
kingdom and sent to an island far away. In comparison to Defoe’s story,
Prospero is sent away where Crusoe chose to set sail and came to the island due
to an accident. Prospero then chooses to colonize a new island with his
daughter named Miranda. The original inhabitants of the island are the son of
an evil witch, Caliban and a jailed servant, Ariel. After Prospero came to the
island  Ariel and Caliban are forced to
become Prospero’s servant, but unlike the warm, friendly and kind Crusoe in
Defoe’s novel, Prospero is a ruthless master who shows limited loyalty to his
servants. Ariel is more willing to serve her newfound master Prospero than
Caliban. Caliban is not as willing and is forced to serve Prospero and tries to
break faith with him. Furthermore, Prospero does not treat his slaves fairly:
Prospero keeps Caliban in jailed and treats him particularly brutal compared to
Ariel. The promises made by Prospero were not followed as well and the servants
get an inhuman treatment. However, Caliban is mentioned to be a dark character
as well and is said to be a monster. Caliban is not scared to show his
unwillingness to follow the orders of Prospero. The attitudes from Ariel and
Caliban towards Prospero contrasts immense with the attitude of Friday towards
Robinson Crusoe. Nevertheless, both Ariel and Caliban are frightened by
Prospero and his magical powers. His characteristic as a cruel master worsens
his already bad relationship with his servants. For example, Prospero
threatened Caliban with violence: “I shall be pinch’d to death” (5.1.316). It
is obvious that the characteristic of Prospero as a cruel master, and the
personalities of Ariel and Caliban influence their master-servant relationship
in a bad way. Caliban does not hesitate to rebel against his master, while
Prospero is intolerant towards Caliban’s rebellion. Unlike Crusoe’s
relationship with Friday, Prospero’s relationship towards Ariel and Caliban is
a purely master – slave relationship characterized by greed, selfishness and
betrayal.
Three characteristics that influence Friday and his relationship with his
master are his race, language and religion. As Roxann Wheeler states in her
article, there are three main components that construct to those categories,
which are “‘savage,’ ‘Christian,’ and ‘slave.'” (Wheller, p. 822) Friday is a
native of the island who becomes spiritually and physically forced into
European culture by the teachings of his master. Crusoe teaches him how to
dress, speak English, and converts him to Christianity saving him from his
“faith.” It is due to their differences in race, language and religion that
Crusoe is able to teach Friday about an entirely new culture. Crusoe becomes
Friday’s teacher and master, while Friday becomes Crusoe’s willing student and
servant. Therefore, through this unique relationship, Friday becomes educated
and Crusoe learns the meaning of true companionship.
In The Tempest, race and social class play a role in the master-slave
relationship; however, these three factors are not used to bond Prospero with
his slaves. Rather, their differences perpetuate their poor relationship. The
plot dwells upon conflict and strain between Prospero and his slaves. It is
clear that Ariel and Caliban aspire to rise from their low social class. The
fact that they are natives being colonized has a large impact in their
relationship with their master. For an example, Friday is loved and appreciated
the most in comparison to the other characters. Friday’s master, Crusoe, shows
more love and compassion to his servant than to his own family. This illustrates
the relationship between the two characters. Furthermore, Prospero sees himself
as inherently greater than Ariel and Caliban from the day he colonized the
island. Unlike Crusoe in Defoe’s story, however, Prospero never forms a
companionship with his slaves. Both Ariel and Caliban are united by their
ambitions to be free but are never able to obtain freedom from their master.
Despite Ariel’s loyalty towards his master, Prospero does not grant him freedom
when he asks for it:
“Dost thou forget 
From what a torment I did free thee?” (Shakespeare, 1.2.294 – 295)
Prospero was the Duke of Milan and was therefore of higher class. After being
exiled from Milan, he lost his high social status. Although Prospero was exiled
off the island he still believed in the divine right of kings when he arrived
on to the island where Caliban and Ariel reside. When Prospero arrives to the
island he decides to make the island his own, disregarding Caliban’s claim on
the island and forcing the two characters that already live on the island to
become his slaves. Similar to Crusoe, Prospero’s background as one of higher
social class in Europe gave him an inherent feeling of superiority over Caliban
and Ariel. Upon Prospero’s arrival to the island he had the help of Gonzalo to
pack the ship with his books and luxuries that would help him and his daughter
survive. Therefore, even though he was exiled from Milan he is considered to
still have high social class on the new island: he has the help of the “lower”
class to aid his needs where ever he goes. Ariel and Caliban are considered to
be from lower class since they were colonized and became slaves. They do not
need to be treated with respect, as they are to perform orders regardless of
how they are treated. Caliban is considered a savage and scum in the eyes of
Prospero, and Prospero’s views are perpetuated when Caliban disrespects
Prospero and almost rapes his daughter Miranda,
“Thou most lying slave,
Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used thee,
Flith as thou art, with human care; and lodged thee,
In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate
The honour of my child.” (Shakespeare, 1.2.406 – 410)
In contrast to Crusoe, Prospero is a controlling master who never lets his
slaves free. Prospero’s relationship with his slaves is not reciprocal: he
simply uses his slaves in an unfriendly manner without teaching them valuable
life skills. When Prospero arrives to the island he meets Caliban and Ariel and
teaches them English. However, he teaches them the English language to the bare
minimum. Caliban is ungrateful to Prospero because although Prospero taught him
how to speak all he does is curse at them,
Caliban: “You taught me language; and my profit on’t
Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language! (Shakespeare, 1.2.426 – 428) 
Dissimilar to Prospero, Crusoe teaches his slave the English language and gives
him friendship. Over time Crusoe is able to gain Friday’s trust. Friday is a
willing learner who is grateful for his master. Friday is portrayed as a
peaceful man who is submissive to the Christian faith that Crusoe teaches him.
In this manner, he contrasts both Ariel and Caliban’s characters because he is
content in his relationship with his master. He never tries to gain back his
freedom and never makes an attempt to betray his master. 
Colonialism is evident in both works as Caliban, Ariel, and Friday are all
natives to their respected island. Their race is therefore an important factor
in their relationship with their master. They are forced to renounce their
identities and change themselves to become more Europeanized or otherwise
slaves. The three characters had to quickly adapt to a different language to
integrate into society, meanwhile having to change themselves from their nature
to conform to the needs of their masters. The social belief, or social bias
underlying the issue of class is based on the principle of the superiority of
colonizers, which looks down on any other race, ethnicity or culture. In
Robinson Crusoe when Crusoe first meets Friday, Friday is of a different race.
From Crusoe’s perspective, Friday is a “savage.” When Crusoe decides to
colonize the land, he is making a statement that his culture is superior. The
fact that Friday looks different from Crusoe and has different beliefs
inherently makes his class “lower” than the average human. When Friday kneels
down to Crusoe for saving his life, he was showing his gratitude. From Crusoe’s
perspective, the act of kneeling is seen as recognition of his superiority.
This act also could have been due to a language barrier between Friday and his
master. Friday had little alternatives to show his gratitude since he could not
speak English. Crusoe teaches Friday European culture and language to relate to
his slave and also to teach his slave how to “act.” 
Both stories of Defoe and Shakespeare appear to be very similar, as the
characters have gone through terrible misfortunes in their life. The characters
in both stories are confined to an island. In contrast, the relationships
between the characters in the two stories are different. Prospero’s servants
seem to be very reluctant to continue serving him, while Crusoe’s slave is very
submissive and never questions his position. The conclusion can be drawn that
the radical changes that took place during the century of the colonizing
experience and the living conditions has affected the concept of attitudes
toward the classes and the tension between the masters and their servants.

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