Caliban and Trinculo: Caliban is carrying a bundle of wood. He curses Prospero, though he knows that his spirits hear him. He complains that for a trifling offence these spirits are set upon him ; and they will frighten him with “urchinshows,” throw him in the mine, or lead him away from his path like a will-O’-the wisp; sometimes they make mouths at him like monkeys and then bite him or lie rolling in his way like hedgehogs, all their bristles erect or entwine him like snakes and hiss him into madness.
Seeing Trinculo (one of the survivors of the shipwreck) approach towards him, Caliban takes him to be a Spirit coming to torment him. To avoid his notice he falls flat on the ground. Trinculo, on the other hand, looking for a bush or shrub to hide his head under from the storm then brewing, discovers Caliban. He cannot say whether it is a man or a fish; it smells like a flSh. He wishes that he had been in England now with this strange creature. He then might have made his fortune ! The storm is soon upon him. He seeks shelter by creeping under’ the gaberdine of Caliban.
Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban : Stephano (another survivor) comes up, tipsy and singing. When Trinculo enters into Caliban’s gaberdine, Caliban thinks that the spirit is there to torment him. Stephano in a drunken state as he is, sees four legs, popping out from the prostrate figure and supposes that it must be “some monster of the isle with four legs,” and as Caliban is trembling in fear, he imagines that the monster must have got ague. Like Trinculo he too hopes that if he can cure him with the drink (for he carries with him a bottle of wine), he may take him to England and make money out of him. Stephano imagines that the voice is familiar. Stephano not only sees four legs but hears now two voices (when he hears Caliban and after him Trinculo speaking ), and pours some more wine into the other mouth (i.e., the mouth of Trinculo)/ Trinculo at once calls out ; “Stephano” ! Stephano pulls him out by his leg ; and each recognises the other, and each relates to the other the manner of his escape from the ship-wreck.
Caliban has been very much exhilarated by the new-found taste of Wine, and is prepared to worship Stephano as a god and swears the bottle of wine in his mouth, allegiance to him. Trinculo whl Was lately afraid of Caliban as a monster, is amused by his slavish attitude. Caliban promises to give Stephano all his service, ieavin Trinculo to wonder at his over flowing profession of abject servitude. Stephano is really flattered by Caliban’s attention and declares the“ he will take possession of the island. Caliban is delighted that he will have no more to serve Prospero.
Critical Comments :
In this scene we have three characters. (1) Caliban, ‘the monster, the slave, the aboriginal Indian, (2) Stephano, the drunken butler, (3) Trinculo, the jester.
The character of Caliban is further revealed in this scene. His besetting sin is his laziness for which, it appears, he is often tormented by the spirits of Prospero. It may be noted that Caliban does not sigh so much for freedom as Ariel, or he could not have been so glad of a change of masters by transferring his service from Prospero to Stephano.
A good deal of fun is created by the behaviour of Trinculo and Caliban-Trinculo creeping under his gaberdine and Caliban shivering all the time in fear taking Trinculo to be a spirit till at last Stephano drags Trinculo out by his leg. A broad comic effect is intended and it comes as a relief to the charged atmosphere of the conspiracy in the earlier scene.
To sum up :
(1) Further revelation of Caliban’s character.
(2) The comic episode crafted as a relief to the conspiracy in the previous scene.
(3) The transfer of Caliban’s service from Prospero to Stephano is to lead to a complication, viz., a conspiracy against Prospero’s life,~ which is a counterpart of the conspiracy against Alonso’s life.