Caliban upon Setebos

William Hamilton Prospero and Ariel.jpg
Caliban upon Setebos is a poem written by the British poet Robert Browning and published in his 1864 Dramatis Personae collection. It deals with Caliban, a character from Shakespeare's The Tempest, and his reflections on Setebos, the brutal god he believes in. 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. An offshoot of this interpretation is the argument that Browning is applying evolutionary theory to religious development. Others feel that he was satirizing theologians of his time, who attempted to understand God as a reflection of themselves; this theory is supported by the epigraph, Psalm 50:21, "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself." This could be taken as God mocking Caliban (and Browning's contemporaries) for their methods of attempting to understand Him (see note at the bottom of "Caliban upon Setebos | Representative Poetry Online". Retrieved 2016-07-21. ).

A short story by German writer Arno Schmidt is entitled "Caliban upon Setebos".

The poem is referred to in Dan Simmons' science fiction books Ilium and Olympos, in which Caliban and Setebos are villains.

In Jack London's novel The Sea-Wolf, Setebos is used to describe Wolf Larsen.

In the prologue to Kenneth Grahame's collection of short stories The Golden Age, "Caliban upon Setebos" is used to describe the relationship a young orphan Grahame (& his siblings) had with his guardian Uncles and Aunts, who were also referenced as the Olympians.

“Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself.”

This page was last edited on 19 February 2018, at 00:45.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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