Just under fifteen years old, Miranda is a gentle and
compassionate, but also relatively passive, heroine. From her very
first lines she displays a meek and emotional nature. “O, I have
suffered / With those that I saw suffer!” she says of the shipwreck
But while Miranda is passive in many ways, she has at
least two moments of surprising forthrightness and strength that
complicate the reader’s impressions of her as a naïve young girl.
The first such moment is in Act I, scene ii, in which she and Prospero
converse with Caliban. Prospero alludes to the fact that Caliban
once tried to rape Miranda. When Caliban rudely agrees that he intended
to violate her, Miranda responds with impressive vehemence, clearly
appalled at Caliban’s light attitude toward his attempted rape.
She goes on to scold him for being ungrateful for her attempts to
educate him: “When thou didst not, savage, / Know thine own meaning,
but wouldst gabble like / A thing most brutish, I endowed thy purposes /
With words that made them known” (
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