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The relationship of Prospero and Caliban in William Shakespeare's The Tempest is a key instance for postcolonial readings of Renaissance texts. This essay uses theatrical and literary history to nuance such readings, emphasizing Shakespeare's revision of the hierarchical character of Ben Jonson's early court masques. In this reading, Caliban can sometimes appear as a suppressed version of Shakespeare's own theatricality. Subsequently--and partly as a result of this theatrical engagement--seventeenth-century criticism and adaptations of the play, especially William Davenant and John Dryden's The Tempest, or the Enchanted Island (1667) were more concerned with the play's configurations of a "natural"sexuality, in effect making Caliban an important figure for the history of sexuality.