Read The Tempest‘s ‘I Must Eat My Dinner’ monologue below with a modern English translation and analysis:
Spoken by Caliban, The Tempest, Act 1 Scene 2
I must eat my dinner.
This island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou takest from me. When thou camest first,
Thou strokedst me and madest much of me, wouldst give me
Water with berries in’t, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I loved thee
And show’d thee all the qualities o’ the isle,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile:
Cursed be I that did so! All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
For I am all the subjects that you have,
Which first was mine own king: and here you sty me
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me
The rest o’ the island.
‘I Must Eat My Dinner’ Monologue Translation
I must eat my dinner. This island’s mine! It belonged to my mother, Sycorax, and you stole it from me! When you first came here you pampered me and made a fuss of me. You gave me water with berries in it and taught me the names of the sun and the moon. I loved you then, and I showed you all the good things on this island – the fresh springs, the salt pits; which were the barren places and which the fertile. Curse the fact that I did so! All the spells of Sycorax – toads, beetles, bats – descend on you! I’m your only subject. I, who was my own king! And now you keep me confined to this stye of hard rock, denying me the run of the island.
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