You taught me language; and my profit on ‘t
Is, I know how to curse: the red plague rid you,
For learning me your language.
– William Shakespeare
The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2. The monster bites back! Caliban is reacting angrily to Miranda’s attack on him as a savage that she tried to educate. He says that he gained nothing of value from the education, except that he learned how to curse. He hopes that she dies of the plague for teaching him her language. Ironically Caliban is also capable of using beautiful, poetic language, as in his "Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises" speech (Act 3, Scene 2). At the heart of The Tempest is the vexed and toxic relationship between the colonized and colonizer, Caliban and Prospero. Caliban deeply resents Prospero’s and Miranda’s attempts to "civilize" him and sees them only as oppressors. He is rebelling against the use of language as a tool of colonization and repression. His threatening words in this passage are foreshadowing of his plot later in the play to kill Prospero and take his daughter.