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The Tempest

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Alternate Cover/publisher Edition ISBN 0743482832 (ISBN13: 9780743482837)

Each edition includes:
• Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

• Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

• Scene-by-scene plot summaries

• A key to famous lines and phrases

• An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

• An essay by an outstanding scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

• Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

218 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1611

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About the author

William Shakespeare

24.3k books41.7k followers
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. Scholars believe that he died on his fifty-second birthday, coinciding with St George’s Day.

At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's.

Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.

According to historians, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets throughout the span of his life. Shakespeare's writing average was 1.5 plays a year since he first started writing in 1589. There have been plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare that were not authentically written by the great master of language and literature.

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Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book862 followers
February 7, 2021
The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s last plays, and somehow he probably knew this as he was writing and producing it. While I was rereading this book for the umpteenth time, I realised how strongly this particular play goes over and wraps up all the thirty-five plays that came before it.

The plot is intricate, but could be summed up like so: Prospero lives on a remote island, deposed and exiled from his dukedom of Milan (as in King Lear, as in the Duke in As You Like It, or even the Duke in The Two Gentlemen of Verona). With him live Miranda, his young daughter, and two opposite spirits or forces of Nature, the ethereal Ariel (compare with Puck) and the chthonic Caliban, son of a witch (see Aaron, see Macbeth’s trio). A ship passes by, returning from Africa (Othello?), is caught in a storm (Lear again), and runs aground. The plot, like the vessel, then splits into three parts: 1) the encounter and apparently complicated love between young prince Ferdinand and Miranda (reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet or the couples in A Midsummer Night's Dream); 2) the regicide plot, in the forest, of treacherous Antonio and Sebastian against Alonso and Gonzalo (cf. Lear once more, Macbeth once more, so on); 3) the washed down jest between Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo (see all the jesters and divine drunkards from Speed to Falstaff).

All these have a brush with disaster, but The Tempest, although it looks like a revenge play at first, is, in fact, a play on atonement, forgiveness, reconciliation and, ultimately, a journey home. And Prospero’s magic powers (the muse-like Ariel) is a device that allows Shakespeare both to test and to save all his characters, finally gathered together for the last time, before breaking his staff (his quill) and drowning his books (his plays), “deeper than did ever plummet sound”.

Both sad and sweet ending for one of Shakespeare's major plays that would later inspire a considerable number of thinkers, artists and entertainers, from Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Swift’s Gulliver's Travels to J.J. Abrams' Lost.

Edit: I realise that I failed to mention the massive influence this play has had on the Science-Fiction genre (the ship-that-lands-on-an-uncharted-planet business), especially in cinema, from Forbidden Planet (1956) to the Alien franchise (e.g. the plot of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and Covenant). If you can think of any other similar reference, by all means, leave a comment.
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.5k followers
August 30, 2020

Simple yet profound, The Tempest is a heartbreakingly sincere piece of elaborate theatrical artifice. Shakespeare is a magician at the height of his powers, so accomplished at his craft that he can reveal the mechanisms of his most marvelous tricks and still astonish us.

This time through, I was struck by how closely references to language, freedom, power and transformation are bound up together, and how they all seem to point to some metaphysical resolution, even if they don't finally achieve it. But perhaps--by the power of Prospero's staff-- they do?
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
April 11, 2019
****Spoiler alert. Which seems really funny to do with a play over 400 years old.****

 photo Tempest20Prospero_zpsv5rxakgh.jpg

”Our revels now are ended...These our actors,
As I fortold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air,
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which is inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind: we are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep…”

I’ve read this piece of writing numerous times in my life. I’ve discussed it in college classes. It has been mentioned or referred to several times in other books I’ve read over the years. Yet, I was reading along, caught up in Shakespeare’s prose. By this point in the play, I am as zoned in as if I were a petty thief, or a washerwoman, or a butcher with blood under my fingernails in the pit at The Globe, watching this play unfold before my eyes. Ariel may have even cast a spell on me from beyond the pale.

”We are such stuff as dreams are made on.”

With all that exposure to these words, these bloody brilliant words, my eyes still sting with tears as if I am reading them for the first time. Maybe it is the spell of Shakespeare, but I am caught completely unawares. As jaded as I think I am, and life has proved to be less than ideal for me, my reaction to this line tells me that I still have a strand of hope twined round my soul.

I still believe in dreams.

Prospero, through the treachery of his brother Antonio, is deposed as Duke of Milan. He is sent out in a leaky boat with his child Miranda to die, but he does not die and lands on an island where he raises his daughter. He survives through the help of a savage, a Hag-seed (born of a witch), who shows he and his daughter how to survive on the island. When Caliban is overcome with desire for Miranda (he had dreams of repopulating the island with little Calibans), Prospero reacts as many fathers would, by enslaving Caliban through magic acquired from his command of the spirit Ariel.

In this time period, writers believed that magicians became powerful through their dominance over a spirit. Wizards did not have power themselves, but only by commanding a spirit to do their bidding.

Caliban is an interesting character. Since he was on the island first, he sees himself as king of the island. His subjugation by Prospero can be interpreted as the same type of subjugation imposed upon indigenous people all over the world. Caliban is brutal, physically strong, mentally weak, and vengeful. He knows what is important to Prospero, even more important possibly than his daughter Miranda.

”First to possess his books; for without them
He’s but a sot, as I am; nor hath not
One spirit to command: they all do hate him,
As rootedly as I. Burn but his books.
He has brave utensils--for so he calls them--
Which, when he has a house, he’ll deck withal.”

It shows how close Caliban and Prospero once were that Prospero would be sharing such dreams with Caliban. Books are what got Prospero in trouble in the first place.

”Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom.”

Prospero, in other words, had his head buried in books so deeply that he was unprepared for his brother to usurp his place. He was searching for power and, in the process, lost what power he already possessed. Thank goodness the faithful Gonzalo took pity on Prospero and snuck his books on the boat. Nothing worse than being marooned on an island without books. To keep from going mad, I would have to carve what I can remember of the great classics into the bark of wood.

”Call me Ishmael.”

Revenge burns bright in the soul of Prospero, and when he gets his chance, he sends Ariel to create a tempest to bring his enemies to him. They just happen to be on a ship passing close to the island. What opportunity be this!

 photo Tempest20Storm_zpskt5nmu5z.jpg

King Alonso of Naples, who helped Antonio overthrow his brother, is now on the island. So is his son Ferdinand, his brother Sebastian, and of course, the main focus of vengeance for Prospero, his brother Antonio. Needless to say, treachery abounds among the troop. Antonio actively encourages Sebastian to do as he did and overthrow his brother. What better opportunity than here on an island? Toss him in a bog, or run him through with a sword, or maybe let Caliban eat him. What makes this all very interesting to me is that Prospero, using Ariel, intercedes.

When we get to the end of the play and they are all saved by the boat returning, Prospero says:

”I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I’ll drown my book.”

Okay, so Prospero and his lovely daughter Miranda are about to get on a boat with all these other duplicitous, backstabbing, certainly untrustworthy, wickedly ambitious people, and he has just released Ariel from his service and destroyed his ability to summon a protective spirit?

So what are the chances that Prospero gets slung off into the ocean to be a tasty treat for a swarm of sharks and Miranda doesn’t marry Ferdinand, but becomes his mistress Mandy?

There has also been speculation about whether Caliban gets on the boat to sail back to Italy with them. In my mind, Caliban sees himself as the King of the Island, so why would he leave now that his usurper is leaving? Nice parallel with Antonio overthrowing Prospero, and Prospero overthrowing Caliban.

 photo William20Shakespeare_zpsf1ixflfb.jpg

As always with Shakespeare there is much to puzzle on in each and everyone of his plays. I’ve only chosen to discuss a few aspects of the play of most interest to me this time reading it. Next time, it could be several other aspects that catch my attention for discussion. I know there are many who do not appreciate Shakespeare, but he is worth the effort. Read Cliff’s Notes, consult Spark Notes, and read summaries of the plot even before reading the play. The extra work will increase your understanding and enjoyment of any of his plays. Hopefully, once in a while, the Bard will catch you off guard as he does me and touch your reader’s soul with words that lift that weary mantle of cynicism from your shoulders for a brief and beautiful moment.

”My Shakespeare, rise; I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lye
A little further, to make thee a roome…,
Thou art a Moniment, without a tombe,
And art alive still, while thy Booke doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
-----Ben Jonson

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
October 31, 2021
The Tempest, William Shakespeare

The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1610–1611, and thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone.

It is set on a remote island, where the sorcerer Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and skillful manipulation.

He conjures up a storm, the eponymous tempest, to cause his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples to believe they are shipwrecked and marooned on the island.

There, his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio's lowly nature, the redemption of the King, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso's son, Ferdinand.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: پنجم ژوئیه سال 1972میلادی؛

عنوان: طوفان؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: ابراهیم یونسی؛ تهران، نشر اندیشه، سال1351؛ چاپ دوم سال1357؛ در174ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، دادار، سماط، سال1383؛ در144ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، نگاه، سال1393، در157ص؛ شابک9786003760110؛ موضوع نمایشنامه های نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 17م

مترجم: اسماعیل دولتشاهی؛ تهران، بدیع، سال1374؛ ؛ در248ص؛

نمایشنامه در پنج پرده تدوین شده؛ و دارای شانزده شخص��ت، و تعدادی سیاهی لشکر است؛

شخصیتها: «پروسپرو: دوک میلان، مردی دانشور، خردمند، آشنا به نجوم و فلسفه، پرهیزگار، و بعدها جادوگری بس نیرومند»؛ «میراندا: دختر دوک، هرگز چشمش به مردی جز پدرش نیفتاد��‌، همچون مرواریدی بیرون از صدف است»؛ «فردیناند: پسر پادشاه ناپل، میراندا بجز برای او، برای مرد دیگری شوق و آرزو نداشت»؛ «آریل: روحی در فرمان پروسپرو، حیله گر، نشانه‌ ای از تردستی و قدرت پروسپرو در سحر و جادو، برای تسلط بر عناصر فرادست زمین، همچون: باد و تندر و آتش»؛ «کالیبان: برده و آلت دست پروسپرو، تخم ریز شیطان، و جادوگری در زمین، نقطه ی مقابل آریل، نشان قدرت پروسپرو در سحر و جادو، برای تسلط بر عناصر فرودست زمین همچون: خاک و آب»؛ «آلونسو: پادشاه ضعیف‌، و بی اراده ی ناپل»؛ «سباستین: برادر خائن پادشاه ناپل»؛ و «آنتونیو»؛ «گونزالو»؛ «ترینکولا»؛ «استفانو»؛ «آدریان»؛ «فرانسیسکو»؛ «آیرس»؛ «سیریس»؛ «ژونو»؛ «ناخدای کشتی»؛ «حوریان»؛ «پاروزنان»؛ و «ملوانان»؛

در جزیره‌ ای زیبا و افسونگر، در دریاهای مناطق گرمسیری، «پروسپرو» و دخترش «میراندا»، زندگی می‌کنند؛ دوازده سال پیشتر، «پروسپرو» حاکم دوک نشین «میلان» بوده؛ ایشان در آن سال‌ها، شب و روز سرگرم، و مجذوب مطالعات، پیشگویی، و احضارِ ارواحِ مردگان بوده، و امور دولتی نیز، در دستان برادرش «آنتونیو»؛ «آنتونیو»ی پلید، با زد و بند، و یاری «آلونسو، پادشاه ناپل»؛ رفته رفته دولت، و اموال «پروسپرو» را غصب کرده؛ و سرانجام او، و دختر خردسالش را، در قایقی بی بادبان، در دریا رها میسازد؛ آنچه جان آن دو را نجات میدهد، یاری پنهانی «گونزالو»، دوست خوب، و از مشاوران دیرین «پروسپرو» است؛ «گونزالو»، چون از نقشه خبر داشته، شب پیش از تبعید بی رحمانه ی دوک، دست به کار یاری رساندن شده، و افزون بر مهیا کردن وسایل لازم برای قایق، و ذخیره ی آب و خوراک، عصای سحرآمیز، و بسیاری از کتب خود، درباره ی سحر و جادو را نیز، برای دوک تبعید شده، میگذارد؛ دوک و فرزندش، پس از سرگردانی بسیار در میان امواج، عاقبت در جزیره‌ ای کوچک، و دور افتاده، که متعلق به «کالیبان»، بچه خوک بی مادر، و جادوگر شرور است، به ساحل میرسند؛ تلاش‌های فراوان «پروسپرو»، برای آدم کردن بچه دیو، بیهوده است؛ چون او به گونه‌ ای ارثی، ابلیس زاده و هیزم شکن است؛ افزون بر آن، برده ی خام و خشن، موجود دیگری نیز در آسمان جزیره، به خدمت «پروسپرو» درآمده: او «آریل» نام دارد، با روحی لطیف و دلپذیر، همچون بادهای آسمانی، و نقطه ی مقابل «کالیبان» زمینی و حیوانی است؛ اکنون سال‌ها بگذشته، «پروسپرو»، با دانش پیشین خود، و با خواندن کتاب‌های «گونزالو»، تبدیل به جادوگری چیره دست شده است؛ او از راه سحر و افسون آگاه می‌شود، که جمع دشمنان دیرینش، پس از عروسی شاهزاده خانم ناپل، برای خوشگذرانی، و دوران ماه عسل، با کشتی عازم همان جزیره هستند؛ «پروسپرو» به یاری «آریل»، طوفانی سهمناک برمیانگیزد؛ و کشتی آنان را غرق می‌کند، ولی تمام سرنشینان را به نحوی بر تخته پاره‌ های کشتی شکسته، به صورت گروه‌ های پراکنده، به سواحل جزیره می‌آورد.؛ و ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 05/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 08/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
November 27, 2016
It’s so easy to judge Caliban based upon his actions and his violent speech, but he does have some real problems that cause them. He tried to rape Miranda. This is, of course, an absolutely terrible thing; however, does Caliban actually know this?

In his life he has only known two people prior to meeting Prospero and Miranda. The first person he knew of was his mother; she was the evil witch who raised him. This doesn’t sound like a fun childhood. The second person he knew was his mother’s slave Ariel; he would have witnessed his mother abuse her slave, and he would have seen her imprison him. That’s it. That’s all the life experience Caliban has had. He has had nobody teach him human values or appropriate behaviour.

“As wicked dew as e'er my mother brushed
With raven's feather from unwholesom fen
Drop on you both! A southwest blow on ye
And blister you all o'er!”


This doesn’t justify his crimes, though it does explain them. I don’t think he fully knows right from wrong. He’s had nobody teach him it. The only other woman he’s ever seen is his mother. He just didn’t know how to behave with other people, and certainly not with other females. He didn’t even have speech till Prospero let Miranda teach him it. I don’t think Caliban is fully responsible for his actions. Prospero should have taught him these things as soon as her arrived on the island; he should have seen Caliban for what he was an aided him his education completley rather than looking down upon him.

Indeed, he took control of the island, and used Caliban as his lackey. He wasn’t his slave in the beginning that came after the rape attempt, but he still didn’t fully respect Caliban as an individual. He entered Caliban’s home and made himself ruler of the island. Caliban’s wasn’t considered in this. To him Prospero was a foreign invader. Prospero didn’t have much choice in the matter either, he was exiled after all, but he could have approached the situation with more tact. Caliban is clearly a volatile individual who doesn’t fully understand what it is to be human. You have to live with other humans for that to develop. Caliban has been alone for a long time. Prospero, for all his knowledge, failed to fully comprehend the complexities of the situation. When he looked at Caliban he didn’t perceive how he may receive his coming to the island.

Is it any wonder that Caliban becomes even more bitter and twisted?

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!


It’s a complex situation. One that becomes even more complex by the arrival of Prospero’s past on the horizon. He sets to dealing with it, but, again, he doesn’t consider Caliban. So, Caliban mistakenly thinks two of the new arrivals are Gods because they carry with them alcohol. This isn’t something he’s seen before, so to him it is a thing of wonderment and real potency. He quickly offers to share with them the secrets of the island, and in doing so enslaves himself once again. This is his problem. Prospero has treated him as a slave so he now identifies himself as a slave, and attempts to take on that same role with a new master. He thinks that is what he is supposed to do. He doesn’t know anything else.

Poor Caliban. Out of all the characters in this play, he’s situation is the one that produces the most empathy. Prospero is driven by knowledge, and in his exile he can now seek it. I don’t remotely feel sorry for him. Miranda finds her happiness, so she’s okay. But, Caliban is left alone. He’s left on the island by himself. He now has inherited what was rightfully his, but his story never receives any real closure. I can’t help but think that this situation could, again, happen to the man. If he can mistake a pair of idiots for Gods then who else could he mistake in the future?

For me, Caliban steals the stage in this play. I don’t really consider the other characters properly because his situation is the one that is most thought provoking. For me, The Tempest will always be the play that represents the voice of the colonised through the expression of Caliban’s desire to be left alone, and the ability to rule himself.

Congratulations Shakespeare: you’ve somehow managed to write a play that pre-dates postcolonial theory by almost 400 years!
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
458 reviews3,240 followers
May 14, 2019
William Shakespeare's last play which he wrote every word of, the burnt-out but rich distinguished gentleman just wanted to go back to his little, quiet, pretty home town of Stratford-upon-Avon and relax, enjoy himself. After more than twenty strenuous, nevertheless productive years of writing for the stage, he needs the calm and leave noisy London, far, far, behind. Besides Shakespeare is pushing 50, old for the time (17th century ) his illustrious career unmatched, then or now... The Tempest story begins with a terrific storm that drives a ship carrying noblemen on the shore of an unnamed, small island off the coast of probably Italy (Shakespeare is vague about the location). The rest of the fleet is scattered around the Mediterranean Sea and the passengers and crews, believe the nobles vessel has sadly gone down, unable to survive the gigantic waves...still they were lucky returning, and had been to a very important wedding in Tunis North Africa, the royals think it's a deserted isle...not so. Prospero, a sorcerer rules this land but since only three "people" live there , his attractive young daughter Miranda and the deformed slave , son of a witch Caliban are the others, the kingdom's value is very limited indeed. Prospero a thinly disguised Shakespeare, has learned black magic from obscure, maybe evil books the former Duke of Milan, who was overthrown by his treacherous brother Antonio, with the help of the equally wicked King of Naples Alonso. He and his infant daughter had narrowly escaped death, the Duke was a bookworm, not the best way to govern, during those tumultuous days of constant wars ... Both Alonso and Antonio are not coincidentally shipwrecked on this land now, being on the doomed ship; Ariel the magician's servant one of several supernatural entities controlled by Prospero, is a powerful wind spirit caused the bad weather (at his master's request). Does the mighty sorcerer seek understandably sweet revenge? After twelve excruciating years, stuck on this miserable bleak place. Ferdinand the King's son meets Miranda age 15, she has only seen two men in her life Caliban, the primitive and the gentle Prospero. It's love at first sight, something is strange about their encounter the father seems happy over the situation, but Alonso is an old enemy. ..Plots of course for power ensue, even here men always seek to better their lives by killing others, will it ever change? Shakespeare like the enigmatic Prospero wants peace and tranquility, to enjoy himself in his last fleeting days. One in Milan the other Stratford, since they are both the same man it doesn't matter... the "brief candle" goes out. ..The author believes, in the meantime that men (and women) should be kind to one another. Such passion from a gentleman if ever proof is required, the unparalleled genius of the Bard.
Profile Image for Kenny.
494 reviews861 followers
February 25, 2022
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
Prospero, (Act IV, Scene i)

The Tempest ~~ William Shakespeare


THE TEMPEST is my favorite of of all of William Shakespeare's works. THE TEMPEST is a marvel on several levels chiefly among them is the playwright's talent had not waned in all the years he had written for the stage. This is Shakespeare's farewell to the stage and to public life. It is brilliant.

My take on THE TEMPEST is quite different from many others. I look at this work not as a reader, or even a theatre goer, but as a director.

Sir Peter Hall described THE TEMPEST as "The most blasphemous play Shakespeare wrote, THE TEMPEST is about a man on an island who's allowed to play God and who doesn't just dabble in witchcraft but actually performs it."

There has to be a quality of the fantastic about THE TEMPEST to make it successful, something to provoke a sense of wonder.


I view Prospero not as a regal duke who attains God-like stature, but a man who has lived in nature for many years and has grown disillusioned with life. He is reluctant to take his dukedom back and leaves his island not triumphantly, but reluctantly. Prospero knows that everyone here, himself included, is beyond redemption except for Miranda and Ferdinand.

Prospero is the controller of both the tempest, and THE TEMPEST. He is a very troubled man. Prospero is engaged in a race against time. This is the crux of his dispute with Ariel and his demand for freedom.

Prospero has been exiled for 12 years. Over this time he has lost his princely virtures and has instead become a savage ~~ look at his treatment of both Ariel, and Caliban, and to a lesser extent, Miranda. Prospero is not tolerant; many of his speeches are more akin to outbursts.


Antonio is the negative pole of THE TEMPEST. There is no forgiveness between the brothers, they are irreconcilable. But this is not the biggest blow to Prospero.

Ariel's leaving Prospero ~~ deserting him ~~ is the biggest blow Prospero suffers. Ariel is the love of Prospero's life. They are THE TEMPEST's power couple. The love between Prospero and Ariel is one of the most compelling relationships that Shakespeare ever imagined. This is the real love story of THE TEMPEST.

Let's be clear, Ariel is a slave. However for a slave Ariel also has tremendous power over Prospero.

Ariel’s relationship with Prospero in the play is necessarily marked by his identity as Prospero’s slave. He must obey. But he wants more than this master-slave relationship. He wants to be loved:

Before you can say 'come' and 'go,'
And breathe twice and cry 'so, so,'
Each one, tripping on his toe,
Will be here with mop and mow.
Do you love me, master? No?

Ariel, (Act IV, Scene i)


To be clear on another point, Ariel is a male sprite. He was written as a male and is meant to be portrayed by a male actor. Too often, Ariel is cast as a woman and it weakens the play in general and the relationship between Prospero and Ariel in particular. Their love is homoerotic, but in Shakespeare's time it was what it was.

Ariel’s feelings for Prospero are complex. Proud to be of use to Prospero, impatient to be free, yet desirous of praise the relationship has something of love, something of servitude, something of rebellion. Should one imagine Prospero as a father figure? Or, is he Ariel's Daddy?


And what of Caliban? Prospero enslaves Caliban and keeps him subjugated by the use of magic to frighten or subdue him. However his need to do this may stem from his fear of Caliban, a virile young male whose sexuality is focused on his daughter. A figure of physical strength who Prospero knows would overthrow or kill him if he could. Prospero may be ‘brains’ but Caliban is ‘brawn’ and brawn at that who knows how to survive in the harsh island environment.

The major theme of THE TEMPEST is reconciliation -- not forgiveness -- reconciliation. In the end, Prospero is reconciled with his brother and the king, but true forgiveness evades them all.

At THE TEMPEST's close, Prospero renounces magic, pledging to break his staff and "drown" his books. He frees his lover Ariel, makes peace with the threatening Caliban, and reconciles with his usurping brother Antonio, the Duke of Milan, who conspired to banish him.

In his final soliloquy, the play's epilogue, Prospero considers the diminishing of his powers and the ravages of encroaching age:

"Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint.
Prospero, (Epilogue I)

Finally, he asks the audience for their applause, drawing the performance to a close and freeing him from his "project... Which was to please":

"But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands...
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free."
Prospero, (Epilogue I)


Ultimately, I interpret THE TEMPEST as a farewell to the theatre, the broken staff a perfect metaphor for the writer laying aside his pen.

Profile Image for Luís.
1,858 reviews515 followers
January 11, 2023
Here is a play that strikes me as quite different from the few works of Shakespeare I have read. Although tragicomic, it is neither as tragic nor comic as his other tragedies and comedies. It seems to me, however, that it is much more severe in the background. And it takes place in a single location and linearly. Even the language is seemingly simple—the reason for my re-reading undoubtedly influences this impression. Within the seminar's framework on Shakespeare's criticism, I was thrown into the search for a theme to exploit in an extract from Shakespeare's work to put it into parallel with another excerpt around the same article from an ecocritical point of view. I chose The Tempest for its near absence of criticism of Elizabethan society and because it's my favorite.
This time, it seems like a reflection on the effects of colonization, human interactions, and between man and nature.
Besides the comic interventions of a few characters and Prospero's revenge towards those who betrayed him, my interest focused on the relations of Prospero and Ariel on the one hand and Prospero and Caliban on the other. Although Prospero is always positively qualified, both in his character and use of magic, Shakespeare lets us see the oppression that Prospero inflicts on the island's inhabitants on which he had stranded, whether they are animals or plants, etc., spirits, or humans. He exploits the knowledge of the island and its resources offered by Caliban. He enslaves it and, however savage he may, expresses his island with more poetry than nobler characters and Ariel. Under the guise of having delivered him from a spell cast by Caliban's mother, Prospero uses him to carry out his revenge, repeatedly dangling his release. Without ever questioning his dominant attitude based on his books and his magic.
The island will also describe according to different perceptions and conceptions. Without the help of Caliban and Ariel to exploit it, Prospero is deserted and unsuitable for humans. For Caliban and Ariel, it is green and abundant, rich in life, depending on the taste and aesthetics of European man or not; it is full of subtle beauty.
We see in this play Shakespeare bowing out through the epilogue of Prospero. We could also perhaps see in his island's departure and the abandonment of his magic, as in Ariel's release, a suspicion of the colonization's effect that spreads to America at the time of the writing of The Tempest.
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,618 followers
December 27, 2017
الجحيم خاو..كل الشياطين هاهنا

ماذا أردت أن تقول يا شكسبير بأخر مسرحياتك؟
بأخر تلاعباتك في أقدار شخصيات مسرحياتك ك'بروسبيرو'؟

أرسلت عاصفة تحطم سفينة بها أخيك،لحمك ودمك، لكنه نفيك وأراد أغراقك ليستولي علي حكم
وبها الملك الذي اشتراه اخيك بالمال ليبيعك..وأخيه الذي سيبيعه ايضا لأن علي الباغي تدور الدوائر

لكنك لم تشأ اهلاكهم، بالسحر ارسلت العاصفة وبالسحر انقذتهم ليصلوا بسلام علي جزيرتك المهجورة
فقط لتلقنهم درسا..عن ضعف النفوس والفقدان والتوبة والتكفير.. والاقدار التي تصنعها ايدينا وافعالنا

بل والحب العفيف.. العفة ليس لمجرد شكليات المجتمع وأنما للحفاظ علي جمال العلاقة الزوجية

ولتسترجع حقك الذي سلبه منك الجميع في حياتك

ثم تتوب بنهايتها عن السحر والتلاعب بأقدار شخصياتك
بعد ان ترينا شياطين الجحيم بيننا ... النفوس التي تفعل أي شئ لمصلحتها... حتي خيانة اقرب الناس لها
كم من نعدهم "الناس العزاز" قد يبيعوا كل شئ لمصلحة زائلة
لحكم دنيوي
دنيا وحياة هي أصلا كالحلم الزائل، تبدا بسبات وتنتهي بنوم طويل

لترينا ان السحر قد يكون موجودا... ولكنه ليس الحل لمشاكلنا
لقد أهمل بروسبيرو حكمه وغفل عنه لدراسته السحر وهذا ما يسر خيانة اخيه والانقلاب عليه

كل ذلك صغته يا شكسبير من خلال احداث مسرحيتك ، اخر ماكتبت وحدك كما يزعم الدارسون

قدمت بها شخصية بروسبيرو الذي تعلم الدرس... وأراد تعليمه لاعداءه لبدء صفحة جديدة وحياة حالمة كما ينبغي

قدمت قصة الحب من خلال ابنته الرقيقة القلب وأن كنت لازلت هنا في تقديمك للمراة بشكل سطحي للغاية

ولكنك ايضا -كما فعلت دوما- سخرت من كيوبيد وسهامه العمياء
كما سخرت من مكر الخونة واصحاب المصالح وقدمت حوارهم بشكل كوميدي ساخر

وانهيت مسرحيتك الاخيرة -وإن لم تكن دراميا القصة بالقوة التي توقعتها- بابهار السحر واستعراض الجنيات والارواح
والافراح والطبيعة والنهايات السعيدة
بهدوء جميل ..الهدوء الذي لحق بالعاصفة

عاصفة شكسبير الأخيرة

محمد العربي
من 20 يوليو 2017
الي 22 يوليو 2017
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews866 followers
May 3, 2019
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest is interesting on so many levels. I especially like how it looks at both the economic benefits of colonialism along with its much uglier side, namely, exploitation and racism. In the play, Prospero, as banished duke of Milan, has taken control of a small island and enslaved Caliban who Prospero sees as unfit to rule his native land. Shakespeare brilliantly captures this attitude of superiority toward the colonized. This is something that will have implications for hundreds of years as England and the other European powers vie for territory around the world. The other-worldly setting for The Tempest shows the mechanism of turning the colonized into the ‘other.’

Caliban is repeatedly referred to as a monster and called out for his lack of gratitude; civilization has been brought to him yet (for some reason) he isn’t thankful. Of course, these supposed benefits come with a cost: oppression, exploitation and all the other evils of ‘civilization.’ Prospero takes his ownership over the island a step further as he uses his magical abilities to exercise complete dominion over the entire island and its inhabitants. It is critical that, in the course of the play, Prospero struggles with his conscience and, in the end, gives up power (magic) and prepares to leave the stage:

“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”

I’ve seen The Tempest performed two times, most memorably at Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Patrick Stewart played the aging but powerful enchanter, Prospero. Stewart really made Prospero’s moral struggle come alive. Shakespeare’s evocative language is, of course, on display in this play, but this play also shows how language can be used as a weapon of the colonizer. Thought to be the last play Shakespeare completed, The Tempest is also among his best and most relevant.
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,573 followers
March 5, 2020
Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Tempest, a play written around 1610 by William Shakespeare. Ever wonder where the word prosperous came from? Or did Shakespeare name the lead character in this play Prospero as a nod to the word prosperous? They are one in the same... sort of. Prospero's been cast off onto an island and wants to restore a life for his daughter. Thru trickery and imagination, he succeeds in a manner of speaking, and though it's a troubled path, he learns his lessons in the end. I really do like this play. I've seen it on stage and it was well-produced. It's one of his somewhat-more-famous plays, but it's not as well-liked in popularity, if that makes sense. As always, its highly creative, but to me, it's a bit of a compilation of all his other plays over the years. Written in the last 5 years of his life, it's one of his final pieces, which may explain why. The characters are vivid. The action is mostly clear. But I felt it lacked a driving force like the others. I didn't so much care whether he was successful until the end. I think because it is more ethereal and aesthetic than full of huge substance, I might have been in the middle. I only read this one once, so I'm due for another read.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
February 14, 2019
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

Believed to have been written in 1611, this may have been one of his last plays. The mature bard, he would have been 47 at this time and with only 5 more years left in this world, created in my humble opinion one of his finest plays.

“...and then, in dreaming, / The clouds methought would open and show riches / Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked / I cried to dream again.”

Telling the tale of shipwrecked Prospero, the sorcerer Duke of Milan, and his daughter Miranda and his spiritualistic (but wholly Shakespearean opportunistic) machinations to restore his family to their rightful place.

“O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!”

Of course, the island is also home to Calaban, and here is where Shakespeare’s genius is shown. Calaban is the earthly foil to Prospero and Ariel, providing a historic off stage depth to the narrative.

"a southwest wind blow on ye and blister ye o'er".

Complete and tightly wound yet entertaining throughout. Prospero may be one of the most complicated and interesting of all of Shakespeare's characters, and his relationships with Miranda, Ariel and Caliban make for literary legend. Very entertaining. Finally, this is simply, beautifully written and a joy to behold.

“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”

*** 2019 reread - I was inspired to revisit this wonderful play after reading Margaret Atwood's wonderful retelling Hag-Seed.

This time around (I've no idea how many times I've read, seen, listened to this) I was especially intent on Prospero's relationship with Miranda, Ariel and Caliban and I played close attention to his motivations for giving up his magic.

Profile Image for Dolors.
527 reviews2,210 followers
September 8, 2015
Shakespeare’s last play is a stroke of a genius. Defying categorization, The Tempest is the hybrid result of merging tragedy, comedy and fantasy that condenses The Bard's genius in the symbolical representation of the world through the demirugical elements of Greek mythology.
The setting takes place on an exotic island where Prospero and his astonishingly beautiful daughter Miranda have lived in exile for the last twelve years. Overthrown by his treacherous brother, Prospero has crowned himself ruler of the island making use of his supernatural powers and has usurped it from its native inhabitants, who are embodied in the slave Caliban. Aided by the spirit Ariel, who owes loyalty to Prospero; he invokes a turbulent storm that causes the vessel carrying his brother and his retinue to shipwreck on the reefs of his wild domains. A peculiar adventure ensues from destruction and loss and, almost as if by divine providence, the dead resurrect to be given a second chance in the realms of songs and imagination.

The moral process of the characters echoes the interconnectedness of the natural elements -earth, water, wind and fire- in the never-ending circle of life; pagan symbols coexist with Christian imagery, enhancing the procreative forces. With death comes rebirth, and also the generational replacement of the old being lost in the new. Prospero forgives and abandons his schemes for revenge, and as proof of his good will, he renounces to his magic, becoming the virtuous master that Montaigne celebrates in his essays and also a mere mortal who will be eroded by the inescapable passage of time. Thus, the emphasis is not in the promise of eternal life but in the transience of a fading world that continuously changes shape alternating reality and illusion.

Prospero’s benign treatment of his lifelong enemies contrasts with his brutish manners with Caliban, a fact that has been interpreted as an allegory of colonialism or even racial bigotry, but that would simplify the complexity of a play that brings the game of scenes and characters to the supreme limit of what words can express. Musical alliterations, rhymes and riddles infuse the language of this dreamland where the reader is torn between reason and mysticism. Words are the true “rough magic”, the “art” that rule in Prospero’s kingdom and in dropping them, the inevitable question arises: is Prospero’s resignation a metaphor for the playwright’s definite retirement and therefore, is the The Tempest a valedictory play as many critics and scholars have presumed?

An answer could be extracted from the Epilogue:

“Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.”

The author begs for applause and appeals to the audience’s forbearance, for his aim was to entertain, and mimicking a religious prayer, he bids farewell and hopes that his masters will follow Prospero’s selfless deed and grant him freedom.

And we do, of course we do, but, as if by some magic spell, his presence is still hovering around, lurking in the corner of every page we turn, talking back at us and shaking his head, an indulgent smile on his lips, not very different from that of a father who has finally become resigned to the foibles of his children.
Profile Image for Lisa.
977 reviews3,327 followers
December 17, 2017
"Your tale, Sir, would cure deafness!"

These words, spoken by the lovely character Miranda, listening to her father Prospero telling her of the political misfortunes of their previous life, apply to almost anything Shakespeare put on stage!

Whenever I try to review a favourite play by the Bard, I inevitably have to reread, to ponder, to think. What does this mean to me, at this moment in time? Why to I revisit this play - again? And why do I have to add to the countless words spoken on the words spoken by the master? Not to give a scholarly analysis, for sure. There are more than enough already. To summarise the plot, complete with love story, intrigues, magic, early colonialism, happy end? No, it is widely known or to be cherished firsthand without me meddling. Nothing I say can make any difference.

Why DOES it matter to me? That is the question I try to answer. In the ocean of thoughts on Shakespeare, there must be a drop of water that is meant for me, me alone, spoken with the aim to make the tempest of my life more bearable!

When life plays unfairly, I am thankful that Shakespeare gave me the quote:

"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here."

When I feel trapped in a situation I cannot change, I feel with the puppy-headed monster Caliban, and am pleased that Shakespeare gave the underdogs of world history speech:

"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!"

The independent soul of Caliban is revealed over and over again, even though his physical dependence on different masters is not changing. He dares to speak his mind:

"His spirits hear me and yet I needs must curse!"

The Tempest is a place with characters of universal type, and I see my own world illustrated in Trinculo's comical summary of the inhabitants:

"The folly of this island! They say there's but five upon this isle. We are three of them; if th'other two be brained like us, the state totters!"

Whoever can speak such truth, in such humorous words, must love mankind despite its flaws, must himself believe in Prospero's winged words, that we are "such stuff as dreams are made on", although we more often than not create nightmares. Prospero's daughter Miranda delivers the quote that became a book of its own right, showing where dream and nightmare meet, utopia and dystopia merge and create a "brave new world, that has such people in't!"

Where spirits like Ariel sing songs of incredible beauty, starting with the suggestive lines of "Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies", I will always feel at home, and I feel the spirit's yearning almost physically when she laconically states the only thing she desires for herself:

"My liberty!"

I will close my love song for Shakespeare with Prospero:

"My library was dukedom large enough!"

And of course it has to be filled with Shakespeare!

"Thought is free!"
Profile Image for Sr3yas.
223 reviews997 followers
June 9, 2017
"Your tale, sir, would cure deafness."

The first time I read Shakespeare was when I was around ten years old. I borrowed a collected edition of translated Shakespearian plays from my library just because I heard someone talk about him. I read around half a dozen of his famous plays like a pro.... and everything I read went over my head. There were merchants, betrayal, ghosts, blood, somebody's skull! What's happening?

But Tempest was an exception. My younger version loved that play because it had MAGIC, a sorcerer, a beautiful princess, a funny angel, and a huge ship getting wrecked in a tempest!

And now, after more than a decade, I decided to read the grand play again!

We are dropped in the middle of an island where the sorcerer, Prospero has been living in exile with his only daughter for twelve years. He used to be a Duke of Milan, but he was betrayed by his own brother which forced him to leave his home on a small boat. After a tough journey, The boat had reached an Island ruled by an Algerian witch who had imprisoned the angels of that Island. After an epic battle between the Witch and Prospero which ended the reign of the witch, Prospero became the master of the Island.

Of course, we don't get to see any of these awesome scenes.

For us, the story begins at the dawn of Prospero's ultimate PG-13 version of the revenge. As the ship carrying his enemies passes trough the sea near to his Island, the sorcerer conjures a tempest which brings the visitors to his Island. With the help of his angel, Ariel, he puts his plan in motion.

While reading this play for the second time, I found many things which my younger self appropriately overlooked.

I found that the mighty Sorcerer is a bit of a douche, the beautiful princess was being used as a pawn by her father, the funny angel was a slave, and the huge ship wrecking was not so huge after all.

Yet I found it mesmerizing. I loved the Caliban scenes! And I've always loved Shakespearian prose, especially the insults.

Poor worm, thou art infected!
Shakesperian First Dates

FERDINAND: Oh god! You are beautiful! Are you a spirit?
Miranda: I am certainly a woman.
FERDINAND: If you are not committed to anyone, I shall marry you!
Miranda: Oh my dear Ferdinand!
FERDINAND: Oh my...uh... What is your name? And you are a Virgin, aren't you?
Prospero: Dude! I am her father and I am standing right here!
Profile Image for Fernando.
680 reviews1,090 followers
December 4, 2020
"¡El Infierno está vacío y todos los demonios están aquí!"

“La tempestad” es la última obra que escribió William Shakespeare. Se estrenó en 1611, cinco años antes de morir a los 52 años de edad.
Sólo tengo cuatro de sus libros, “Macbeth” (mi preferido), “Hamlet”, “Rey Lear” y éste y están en mi biblioteca precisamente por el tipo de temáticas que tocan.
Sus comedias no me llaman mucho la atención y tal vez sólo leería “Sueño de una noche de verano” u “Otelo”, pero nada más.
Amén de esto, es obvio que me deshago en elogios ante semejante genio literario.
Esta obra contiene todos los elementos del cuento fantástico que tantos autores escribieron siglos después que él, porque posee intriga, conspiraciones, traiciones, hechicería y humor.
Me encanta el personaje de Próspero. Me recuerda al Dr. Strange de los Avengers con sus poderes de hechicero, capaz de convocar espíritus (como el de Ariel) y de manejar la realidad de los otros personajes a su voluntad.
Además, me siento identificado con él a nivel personal. Lo que le sucede tan pronto comienza la historia también lo sufrí yo.
En el medio, desfilan una serie de pintorescos y extraños personajes como Trínculo, Caliban y Estéfano, y por supuesto, aparecen los villanos como Antonio, Alonso y Sebastián.
De este libro surgen algunas de las frases más hermosas de Shakespeare como "¡El Infierno está vacío y todos los demonios están aquí!" y "Somos del material del que están hechos lo sueños, y a nuestra poca vida la rodea un dormir."
Y de un diálogo del personaje de Miranda surge la frase "Brave new world" de donde Aldous Huxley toma el título de su libro conocido en español como "Un mundo feliz".
En resumidas cuenta, “La tempestad” es una agradabilísima obra de Shakespeare a quien nunca se le puede puntuar por debajo de las cinco estrellas.
Profile Image for Lucy.
415 reviews610 followers
April 30, 2019
With a bit of hard work and trying to understand the language- I actually enjoyed this one !
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,535 followers
April 6, 2022
This may be my favourite Shakespeare play with its multiple levels of meaning, its enigmatic characters and its driving plot. I remember discussing it for hours in high school and being amazed at how, 600 years later, the themes had still not been exhausted. To be re-read this year for sure!

Fino's Reviews of Shakespeare and Shakespearean Criticism
The Comedy of Errors (1592-1593
The Taming of the Shrew (1593-1594)
The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594-1595)
Love's Labour's Lost (1594-1595)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595-1596)
The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597)
Much Ado About Nothing (1598-1599)
As You Like It (1599-1600)
Twelfth Night (1599-1600)
The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600-1601)
All's Well That Ends Well (1602-1603)
Measure for Measure (1604-1605)
Cymbeline (1609-1610)
A Winter's Tale (1610-1611)
The Tempest (1611-1612)
Two Noble Kinsmen (1612-1613)

Henry VI Part I (1589-1590)
Henry VI Part II (1590-1591)
Henry VI Part III (1590-1591)
Richard III (1593-1594)
Richard II (1595-1596)
King John (1596-1597)
Edward III (1596-1597)
Henry IV Part I (1597-1598)
Henry IV Part II (1597-1598)
Henry V (1598-1599)
Henry VIII (1612-1612)

Titus Andronicus (1592-1593)
Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595)
Julius Caesar (1599-1600)
Hamlet (1600-1601)
Troilus and Cressida (1601-1602)
Othello (1604-1605)
King Lear (1605-1606)
Macbeth (1605-1606)
Anthony and Cleopatra (1606-1607)
Coriolanus (1607-1608)
Timon of Athens (1607-1608)
Pericles (1608-1609)

Shakespearean Criticism
The Wheel of Fire by Wilson Knight
A Natural Perspective by Northrop Frye
Shakespeare After All by Marjorie Garber
Shakespeare's Roman Plays and Their Background by M W MacCallum
Shakespearean Criticism 1919-1935 compiled by Anne Ridler
Shakespearean Tragedy by A.C. Bradley
Shakespeare's Sexual Comedy by Hugh M. Richmond
Shakespeare: The Comedies by R.P. Draper
Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics by Stephen Greenblatt
1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro

Collections of Shakespeare
Venus and Adonis, the Rape of Lucrece and Other Poems
Shakespeare's Sonnets and a Lover's Complaint
The Complete Oxford Shakespeare
Profile Image for AiK.
491 reviews113 followers
February 26, 2023
Традиционно рецензенты восхваляют эту последнюю пьесу великого драматурга Шекспира за нетрадиционную развязку, когда вместо кровавой мести герои пьесы – узурпатор и бывший правитель, лишенный власти и привилегий, а также покушавшиеся на убийство и их потенциальная жертва - достигают поистине христианского прощения и мира, и даже дикий и свирепый Калибан наказан очень мягко. На мой взгляд, это упрощенная трактовка, трактовка с позиции "законности власти", предполагающей незыблемость этого права, равно как и права того, кто сильнее, править новыми, колонизируемыми территориями. На мой взгляд, Шекспир стоит целиком �� полностью на стороне Просперо, считая его права на миланский трон и на колонизацию острова, и соответственно, порабощение Калибана и Ариэля неколебимыми, можно сказать священными. Думается, что обоснованием этого мнения является то, что согласно многим исследователям творчества драматурга, короткий размер этой пьесы был обусловлен ее постановкой при королевском дворе. Поэтому, можно даже предположить конъюнктурный характер этой пьесы. Еще одним подтверждением мнения о том, что Шекспир придал Просперо особое право на власть, как в Милане, так и на острове, является то, что из человеческих персонажей, за исключением Сикоракс, только он обладает силой волшбы и имеет атрибуты волшебника, такие как волшебный плащ. Дополнительно, ни один из героев, кроме Просперо, ни на что и ни на кого не влияет. Силой своих сверхъестественных способностей Просперо двигает всем сюжетом, всеми действиями героев.
На мой взгляд, герои этой пьесы довольно поверхностны и неестественны. Можно ли поверить в то, что узурпатор, вероломно укравший престол, с легкостью отдает власть бывшему правителю, при том, что в ходе пьесы он подбивает Себастьяна убить своего брата, то есть его коварные наклонности никуда не исчезли? Можно ли поверить, что бывший правитель без сомнений и подозрений, полностью прощает узурпатора? Вообще, соответствует ли это человеческой природе?
Считаю, дикого Калибана нельзя отождествлять с колонизируемым населением острова, ведь он – сын Сикоракс, изгнанной из Алжира, то есть он предшествующий Просперо колонизатор и перешедший из статуса колонизатора c точно такими же притязаниями законности своих прав на остров в статус раба, причем не только выполняющим тяжелую работу, но и которому навязан чужой язык, и с которым жестоко обращаются, например, натравливают на него собак. Да, он необразован, груб, дик, пытался изнасиловать Миранду, что «населить остров калибанцами», но это не оправдывает порабощение не только физическое, но и культурное. Скорее представителем коренного населения острова можно считать Ариэля, который прежде был покорен Сикоракс, и он тот, кто заслуживает всяческого сочувствия, будучи дважды покорен колонизаторами. Получается, колонизация легитимна для того, у кого больше силы.
Миранду Шекспир сделал какой-то противоречивой. С одной стороны, она полностью подчинена контролю и воле отца, и в этом ее подчиненное положение. Он может ее усыпить, когда ему это нужно, он ставит ей требования о девственности до брака, она безусловно подчинена деспотичному отцу, но правда и то, что она намекает Фердинанду о том, что ему бы надо сделать ей предложение, подталкивает его к этому, и она же может делать традиционно мужскую работу, таскание бревен. Несмотря на противоречивость натуры, она все-таки простушка, не видевшая жизни и влюбившаяся в первого встреченного ею в жизни мужчину.
Отношения Миранда – Калибан были рассмотрены у Фаулза в «Коллекционере». После прочтения «Бури», его трактовка мне не кажется соответствующей тому, что творится в его культовом романе. Миранда у Шекспира не такая искушенная, и не такая утонченная, как Миранда Фаулза. Как раз у Шекспира Миранда – «дикая», девушка, не видевшая мужчин. Миранда у Фаулза знает себе цену, она очень высокого мнения о себе. Калибан и у Шекспира, и у Фаулза – изгой, но отчуждение от общества у них разное. У Калибана оно навязано извне, оно связано не просто с поражением в правах, а с порабощением более сильным. А у Фаулза оно связано с неприятием обществом ментально нездоровых наклонностей его натуры, подсознательным страхом перед ним.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
November 7, 2016

Prospero manipulates his daughter Miranda, the prince Ferdinand, his father (the King of Naples), Ariel, Caliban, and the rest of the cast! But in the end **spoiler warning here, if anyone actually needs it** he sets his slaves free and forgives those who've wronged (tried to murder) him, and also has some really excellent lines, so it's all good.

Review to come.

Initial comments: The "book from the 1600s" space is one of the last few that need to be filled in on my 2016 Classics Bingo card. I tried and failed to get into Milton's Paradise Lost, but The Tempest is going down a lot easier. :)
102 reviews282 followers
March 12, 2010
Knowing that The Tempest is most likely Shakespeare's final play, it's hard to avoid noticing the hints of retirement in the text. Toward the end of the final act, Prospero solemnly describes the conclusion of his practice of the magic arts, just as Shakespeare might describe the end of his writing career:

Have I given fire and rifted Jove's stout oak
With his own bolt; the strong-based promontory
Have I made shake and by the spurs pluck'd up
The pine and cedar: graves at my command
Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth
By my so potent art. But this rough magic
I here abjure, and, when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.

Beyond this connection, it’s fun if idly fruitless to try to expand the Prospero-as-Shakespeare angle. For example, Prospero, the Duke of Milan, was usurped by his brother. Was Shakespeare replaced as the king’s or the populace’s most favored playwright? Perhaps he was eclipsed by or had a falling out with Ben Jonson, who felt confident enough to be the first to publish a written collection of his plays (something Shakespeare never did) and who mocked Shakespeare and his Tempest subject matter in one of his own plays, Bartholomew Fair. As I said, it’s idle speculation, particularly when engaged in by someone unfamiliar with the time period. But the text does seem to encourage some autobiographical reading, and it’s certainly fun to consider the possibilities.

One thing that continues to impress me about Shakespeare is his refusal to create blameless heroes. Even if we end up feeling very sympathetic toward someone, there's always something to nag us and remind us that this character isn’t irreproachable. In the Richard II—Henry IV—Henry V cycle, Hal has a remarkable and redemptive character arc, but he must abandon his rowdy friends most cruelly to achieve this. As someone who wants to love and celebrate Hal unreservedly, this fact is like a thorn that pokes me every time I cheer too loudly during the St. Crispin's Day speech.

Like Hal, Prospero has a troubling relationship that mars his character. As mentioned above, he was usurped. But then he became the usurper, enslaving an 'uninhabited' island's sole inhabitant (and therefore the ruler of sorts), Caliban, and treating him harshly. (For the record, Caliban's witch mother usurped the original fairies of the Island, Ariel et al., when she was dropped off by some sailors while pregnant.) The story of the enslavement is morally complicated, it's true. Caliban was apparently well-treated, if still usurped, before he attempted to rape Prospero's daughter, thus leading to the mistreatment and his begrudging service as we encounter them during the three hours of the play (side note: Before Jack Bauer and 24, Shakespeare had already created a drama where the play length occurs in real time). There's also the troubling distinction between Prospero's two slaves, Caliban and Ariel. Caliban, a hideous semi-human monster, is rude and bitter and therefore 'deserves' his slave state and cruel treatment, while obedient Ariel is set free at the story's end. But because Prospero is leaving the island to return to Milan at the conclusion, even Caliban can look forward to freedom once again.

And so in the end, Prospero wins us over with his capacity for forgiveness and his desire to do everyone a good turn, while only desiring to finish off his days in Milan “where/Every third thought shall be my grave.” While he spends much of the play spooking those who’d wronged him with spirit visitations and magical scenes, he eventually leaves anger and vengeance behind. Interestingly, it’s the nonhuman spirit slave Ariel who encourages Prospero to be humane and compassionate:

Your charm so strongly works 'em
That if you now beheld them, your affections
Would become tender.

Dost thou think so, spirit?

Mine would, sir, were I human.

And mine shall.
Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling
Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,
One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,
Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?
Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,
Yet with my nobler reason 'gainst my fury
Do I take part: the rarer action is
In virtue than in vengeance.

Perhaps this suggestion had to come from a nonhuman since treating kindly those who’ve wronged us can seem most unnatural. Shakespeare seems to recognize that this type of forgiveness, especially offered to those who have intentionally affected one’s life for the worse, is exceptionally difficult to bestow. But he also seems to recognize that overcoming this difficulty is well worth it, perhaps more for the sake of the forgiver than that of the forgiven.
Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,260 reviews5,356 followers
August 31, 2022
انا رجل فقير ولكن مكتبتي كانت دوقيتي؛عزبتي مترامية الاطراف؛و مثار فخري
في مسرحيته الاخيرة يقدم لنا شكسبير حكايته الفلسفية الاخيرة التي قد تشفي الصمم علي حد تعبيره..قصة عن فلسفة البيع والخيانة والجحيم الخاوي؛لان كل الشياطين هنا معنا علي الأرض
Profile Image for Alex.
1,418 reviews4,382 followers
March 26, 2020
This is the racist one. The Tempest is racist. Merchant of Venice is the anti-Semitic one, Titus Andronicus is the slasher one, Much Ado is the vagina one, this is the racist one. Caliban is a “Man of Ind,” the West Indies, where Columbus first set anchor, and he is
A devil, a born devil, on whose nature
Nurture can never stick: on whom my pains,
Humanely taken, all, all lost, quite lost!
And as with age his body uglier grows,
So his mind cankers.

Birmingham Royal Ballet gives him a snail shell, rad, but he’s still black

Shakespeare pulls a dirty trick on Caliban by making him an attempted rapist, just to make sure we don’t accidentally end up on his side. And you can see how it might happen otherwise, since Prospero the slaveowner is a massive dick. He treats his slaves, Caliban and Ariel, brutally. And he’s extremely obsessed with his daughter Miranda's virginity. As he’s giving her away to Ferdinand, he gives this really long speech about premarital sex:
Worthily purchased, take my daughter. But
If thou dost break her virgin knot before
All sanctimonious ceremonies may
With full and holy rite be ministered,
No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall
To make this contract grow, but barren hate,
Sour-eyed disdain, and discord shall bestrew
The union of your bed with weeds so loathly
That you shall hate it both.

Ew. Earlier Prospero just straight up called her a slut - she sees Ferdinand, right, who by the way is a tool, but she instantly falls for him - there are those wonderful lines:
O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O, brave new world
That has such people in’t!

One of my favorite passages. And Prospero’s like oh shit, I know what that means. My daughter’s a slut!
This swift business
I must uneasy make, lest too light winning
Make the prize light

Miranda's just gazing out across the sea, in this painting by John William Waterhouse, dreaming of dicks
But this is trifling
And all the more it seeks to hide itself,
The bigger bulk it shows

She says to Ferdinand, proving that it’s not in Prospero’s head. Ferdinand, for his part, seems concerned solely with her virginity. Literally the first thing he asks her is “whether you be maid or no.” First thing.

This was probably Shakespeare’s last decent play. It has some wonderful lines - “Hell is empty,
And all the devils are here!” not to mention the whole “As dreams are made of” speech, which is definitely “To be or not to be” light but that’s still pretty good. It has the ambiguity in it that we expect from his mature work - for one thing, it really is hard not to sympathize with Caliban and Ariel. But you can’t explain all that racism away with ambiguity: it is racist, and also very weird about virginity. It’s very, very poorly aged.

On the other hand, there’s this one scene where Stephano the drunken butler threatens to pour booze in “thy other mouth,” so I think Shakespeare’s invented buttchugging. It was all worth it!
Profile Image for Emily B.
426 reviews418 followers
April 13, 2021
I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would and wish I read it much sooner. I love how different it is to the other Shakespeare plays i’ve read so far.

‘This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine’
Profile Image for Marie.
143 reviews44 followers
November 16, 2016
As part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, I needed to read a play and what better play to read than “The Tempest” having recently read and adored Margaret Atwood’s retelling in “Hag-Seed.” I have an even greater appreciation of “Hag-Seed” having read the original again. It had been more than twenty years since I’ve read Shakespeare. I found it simultaneously difficult to navigate the Old English and thematically extremely relevant to modern day. There is so much complexity within this brief play, that it is no wonder that people study Shakespeare to such lengths!

This play takes place on an Island where the magician, Prospero, and his daughter Miranda have been living the last 12 years, since Prospero’s exile from his position as Duke of Milan. The only other person on the Island during this time is Calaban, son of the evil witch, Sycorax, who used to live there as well. Ariel is a fairy who does the bidding of Prospero. Calaban is also enslaved to Prospero, having attempted to rape Miranda. Prospero creates a tempest which bring his enemies by shipwreck to his Island. He scatters them across the Island such that Ferdinand the King’s son is separated from all others and will encounter Miranda, both falling in love with each other under Ariel’s spell. Gonzalo, Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian are landed together. During their time on the Island, Antonio and Sebastian plot against the king’s (Alonso’s) life, assuming that Ferdinand has perished. Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano develop an alliance that intends to murder Prospero, so that they can take over the island. Finally, all come together. Prospero, with urging from Ariel, forgives all and all is calm. Prospero, a thinly disguised Shakespeare, asks for applause to end his imprisonment.

There is much duality of humanity and the world represented within this play. Themes of good versus evil, magical vs earthly, land versus sea, honest versus dishonest, free versus imprisoned, sober versus drunk pervade this play. I loved the infusion of music, poetry and magic within this play. There is obvious brilliance to the themes and the structure of the play. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and found many unique characteristics setting it apart from some of Shakespeare’s other works that I’ve read.
Profile Image for Dennis.
659 reviews269 followers
April 14, 2020
We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

This was the first time I read Shakespeare in English. I liked the play. But it was so immensely difficult for me to read that it wasn't exactly a lot of fun to do so. Hence the three star rating.

The Tempest is a tale of revenge and forgiveness, with some romance, as well as the occasional moments of poetry and comedy. Pretty enjoyable overall, if one is willing to put a bit of effort into reading it.

In my case this means that in the beginning I was searching online for the meaning of many words, or was going back to one particular chapter in this book that offers a short list of some of the most common words in Shakespeare’s plays and compares them to their modern meaning. Obviously, this made any sort of proper immersion well-nigh impossible. Another method was needed, and I ended up reading the play in both English and my native language German, scene by scene going back and forth between the two versions. This turned out to be a good method to, on the one hand, being able to enjoy the "original" text (which is far superior to the German translation), and, on the other, not missing important developments in the story. I put "original" into quotation marks because the original text is more than four hundred years old, of course, and whatever version of it we are going to read today, it will always have been edited in some way or another.

This book, besides the actual play, offers the following:

• A short biographical overview of William Shakespeare
• a likewise short overview of his canon
• an explanation of Shakespeare’s English
• a short portrayal of the theater scene at the time, with the focus on Shakespeare’s plays
• a note on the use of boy actors in female roles
• a look at Shakespeare’s dramatic language (costumes, gestures, silences, prose, poetry)
• an explanation on how actors, editors and other collaborators became part of the texts and/or the interpretation of the texts, and how there might be some uncertainty sometimes as to who contributed what
• an analysis of the play
• partial reprints of potential sources for The Tempest
• several lengthy commentaries on the play

I read most of these, but skimmed huge parts of the last two. Some interesting stuff. But not the reason why I picked up this book.

So, am I going to read more Shakespeare? I’m not sure. I might, because I own a couple of books already. But the language really makes this a challenge, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get all the nuances of his writing. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

This has been a buddy-read with Vero and Cathy. While none of us has English as their mother tongue, the two at least either live or lived in the UK. But is it any help in this case?
Profile Image for Майя Ставитская.
1,326 reviews133 followers
October 10, 2022
For the first time I watched Shakespeare's "The Tempest" in the production of Shakespeare's "Globe". Well, yes, on TV; in about eighty-six. Then the Iron Curtain opened and all the flags were visiting us. The performance was not duplicated - it was accompanied by subtitles, at sixteen it seemed incredibly boring; I don't even remember whether I was bored or went to bed. I kept waiting for the magic promised by the art critic in the preliminary conversation, and these people kept saying their incomprehensible words against the background of gloomy scenery and did not deliver any miracles to the inquisitive girl's mind.

Then I didn't like the play. But now 36 years have passed (it's scary to pronounce), there have been several productions of The Tempest in my life from different theaters in different cities, it has been read and reread, because in modern literature there are many references to this thing, when you read a lot, you encounter them every now and then. It's time to look at the Globus production again. This time on a big screen, with good sound and that special sense of almost presence that the HD Theater project films provide. And it was a different feeling.

The ship is wrecked off the coast of an uninhabited island; the ruler is an exile Prospero, who lives there in seclusion with his daughter Miranda and two creatures in service - the freak Caliban and the sylph (do you know who the sylph is? This is the spirit of the air, the local's name is Ariel. Why does he serve? Prospero saved him). Ah, it turns out that he caused the storm too? For what? In order to get even with the usurper brother sailing on the ship and at the same time arrange the fate of his daughter - in addition to the treacherous relative Sebastian, there is also the king of Naples Alonzo with his son Ferdinand.

Ferdinand predictably falls in love with the beauty Miranda, who falls in love with him: "I would call him divine. There are no creatures on earth so beautiful." Then they should get married, but the stern Prospero is preparing a series of tests for lovers: let them learn to appreciate each other as a trace. And at the same time builds a sophisticated mise en scene, during which the key participants of the action (survivors) are pulled up to one point. Public repentance, justice triumphs, nations rejoice, lovers are married legally, everyone sings and dances. That's all.

This time everything turned out to be more interesting, brighter and clearer. Maybe because I am at the age of Prospero and I already understand a person who is going to devote "every third thought to the demise"

"Буря" в постановке театра "Глобус"
Мы созданы из вещества того же,
Что наши сны и сном окружена
Вся наша маленькая жизнь.

В первый раз я посмотрела шекспировскую "Бурю" в постановке шекспировского "Глобуса". Ну да, по телевизору; году примерно в восемьдесят шестом. Тогда открылся железный занавес и все флаги были в гости к нам. Спектакль не дублировался - сопровождался субтитрами, в шестнадцать показался невероятно скучным; не помню даже, домучила или пошла спать. Все ждала обещанной искусствоведом в предваряющей беседе магии, а эти люди все говорили свои непонятные слова на фоне мрачных декораций и никаких чудес пытливому девичьему уму не доставляли.

Тогда не полюбила пьесу. Но вот прошло (страшно выговорить), 36 лет, было в моей жизни несколько постановок "Бури" от разных театров в разных городах, была она прочитана и перечитана, потому что в современной литературе множество отсылок к этой вещи, когда много читаешь, с ними то и дело сталкиваешься. Пришло время посмотреть в глобусовской постановке снова. На сей раз на большом экране, с хорошим звуком и тем особым чувством почти присутствия, которое обеспечивают фильмы проекта Театр HD. И это было иное ощущение.

Корабль ��ерпит крушение у берегов необитаемого острова; правитель-изгнанник Просперо, уединенно живущий там с дочерью Мирандой и двумя созданиями в услужении - уродцем Калибаном и сильфом (не знаете, кто такой сильф? Это дух воздуха, здешнего зовут Ариэль. Почему служит? Просперо спас его). Ах, бурю оказывается вызвал тоже он? Для чего? Чтобы расквитаться с узурпатором-братом, плывущим на корабле и заодно устроить судьбу дочери - кроме коварного родича Себастьяна там еще король Неаполя Алонзо с сыном Фердинандом.

Фердинанд предсказуемо влюбляется в красотку Миранду, та в него: "Божественным его б я назвала. Нет на земле существ таких прекрасных". Тут бы их и поженить, да суровый Просперо готовит влюбленным ряд испытаний: пусть ужо научатся друг друга ценить как след. И заодно выстраивает изощренную мизансцену, в ходе которой ключевые участники действа (выжившие) подтягиваются в одну точку. Публичное покаяние, справедливость торжествует, народы ликуют, влюбленные сочетаются законным браком, все поют и танцуют. И все.

В этот раз все оказалось интереснее, ярче и понятнее. Может быть потому, что я в возрасте Просперо и уж е понимаю человека, который собирается посвятить "кончине всяко третье размышленье"
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.6k followers
March 10, 2011
I might as well admit I don't understand what it's about - it's still absolutely gorgeous to listen to. Here are my three favourite bits. Bronze goes to what's generally considered Shakespeare's farewell to the dramatic arts:
... Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.
Silver to the following, surely one of the most brilliant lyrical passages in the English language:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
And I'm afraid I have to give gold to my all-time favorite stage direction:
PROSPERO discovers FERDINAND and MIRANDA playing at chess.
I know that isn't very rational. But The Tempest isn't a very rational play.
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