William Shakespeare's - The Tempest

William Shakespeare is regarded as one of the greatest writers. The Tempest is amongst his most widely read and appreciated works.
| Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The tempest written by William Shakespeare is widely regarded as one of his greatest works. Appreciated by scholars, critics and public in general this play was dated around 1610-11 and is regarded as the last of his plays. This play had its first performance in 1611 before King James I and then was presented again during the marriage festivities of Elizabeth. Scholars indicate that the play was inspired from a shipwreck in Bermuda and reports of the traveler's about the adjoining island.

The Tempest Summary

The story starts off with King Alonso from Naples sailing home after attending the wedding of his daughter Claribel in Tunis. On the way the sailing party encounters a violent storm and this is called as Tempest. The sheer magnitude of this storm makes them jump overboard to save their lives and they are all washed ashore on a strange island. This island is occupied by a magician named Prospero who has in fact deliberately created the storm. It turns out that Prospero is the actual rightful Duke of Milan who is left out on the sea with his daughter Miranda by Prospero's brother Antonio. Miranda is three years old and all this has been done by Antonio together with King Alonso. Prospero lives with his daughter Miranda in a cave on this island. It turns out that the island is also inhabited by a sprite who works for Prospero. This sprite is named Ariel and another important character in this play is that of Caliban who is half human. Caliban considers himself to be the rightful ruler and owner of the island. So he plots with some of King Alonso's fellow travelers to kill Prospero. Ariel reprimands King Alonso for his plotting against Prospero and Miranda falls in love with one other character Ferdinand. Several plots are developed against Prospero but they remain unsuccessful because of his magical powers. In the end the events of the play are shown in such a way wherein all the offenders repent for their actions. Prospero successfully gets back his rights as the Duke of Milan and Ariel successfully calms the storm Tempest and finally every except Caliban leave the island.

The themes covered in the Tempest included explorations of new lands, friendship, slavery, freedom, repentance, revenge and forgiveness. The dramatic sequences involving music and dance were the aspects that stood out in this play. None of the plays written by William Shakespeare were published but there were around eighteen unauthorized versions of his plays that were published during his lifetime. Initially the Tempest was printed in 1623 and was first classified as a comedy and later on was classified as romance. As per the Complete Public Domain text the total number of spoken words in this play is 17,462. The most important characters in this play are Prospero, Alonso, Caliban, Ariel and Miranda. The most important quotes in The Tempest include "We are such stuff as dreams are made on..." and "This thing of darkness...."

Among all the characters in The Tempest Prospero is the one who has been shown as someone with an enigmatic personality even though he seems rather self obsessed at times. The fact that his brother takes advantage of him makes him a sympathetic character. However he appears vindictive in treating Caliban unfairly from time to time. In fact every character is like a cauldron of different shades seen in every single human being. This is what gives Shakespeare's plays a life like quality.

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