Frank Benson as Caliban - 1895

In his earlier performance of Caliban, Frank Benson was okay with playing a blackface Caliban. Blackface in Shakespeare had a strong precedence through Othello. He looks rather human but is made sub-human through the eating of the raw fish and the general lack of clothing. This particular image also depicts this Caliban as though he has been caught in the act of stealing. There was a clear message about black folk that was said through this image that would, justly, cause great outrage today.


Frank Benson as Caliban – 1895

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