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The Tempest Paperback – Oct 13 1998
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One of Shakespeare's most famous but also enigmatic plays, for many years the story of Prospero's exile from his native Milan, and life with his daughter Miranda on an unnamed island in the Mediterranean, was seen as an autobiographical dramatisation of Shakespeare's departure from the London stage. The Epilogue, spoken by Prospero, claims that "now my charms are all o'erthrown", appeared to reflect Shakespeare's own renunciation of his magical dramatic powers as he retired to Stratford. But The Tempest is far more than this, as recent commentators have pointed out. The dramatic action observes the classical unities of time, place and action, as Prospero uses his "rough magic" to lure his wicked usurping brother, Antonio, and King Alonso of Naples to his island retreat to torment them before engineering his return to Milan.
However, the play is full of extraordinary anomalies and fantastic interludes, including Gonzalo's fantasy of a utopian commonwealth, Prospero's magical servant Ariel, and the "poisonous slave" Caliban. The creation of Caliban has particularly fascinated critics, who have noticed in his creation a colonial dimension to the play. In this respect Caliban can be seen as an American Indian or African slave, who articulates a particularly powerful strain of anti-colonial sentiment, telling Prospero that "this island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,/ Which thou tak'st from me". This has led to an intense reassessment of the play from a post-colonial perspective, as critics and historians have debated the extent to which the play endorses or criticises early English colonial expansion. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
For many years, the exiled Duke of Milan Prospero has lived on a remote island with his young daughter Miranda. But when he discovers that his treacherous brother Antonio and his similarly treacherous friends are nearby on a sailing ship, he summons a storm that causes the ship to crash on the island.
And like a puppet-master, Prospero arranges this as he wants -- he sends his servant Ariel to haunt the men who betrayed him, he thwarts the machinations of his evil servant Caliban, and he pretends to treat Alonso's son Ferdinand badly while secretly matchmaking him with Miranda. In the end, everything will be as he desired.
"The Tempest" is a play with two different dimensions. On one hand, we have a simple story about a mage whose power allows him to manipulate everything in his little domain. And on the other, we have the story of a brilliant storyteller who arranges his own little worlds as he sees fit, and bids farewell to his role ("Now my charms are all o'erthrown/And what strength I have's mine own...")
And appreciated on its own, "The Tempest" is a brilliant play -- Shakespeare juggled the three main plotlines nicely, and brought a solid sense of resolution to the story. His rich dialogue is stunning ("But doth suffer a sea-change/Into something rich and strange/Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell..."), especially during Ariel's songs and Prospero's speeches.Read more ›
It's a real shame that the language has changed so much since Shakespeare wrote that his plays are no longer accessable to the masses, because that's who Shakespeare was writing for, largely. (Especially in his comedies.) Granted, there is enough serious philosophizing to satisfy the intelligensia, but the action and bawdy humor would surely satisfy any connouiseur of modern hit movies, if only they understood it. Unfortunately, while the plots are good enough to be lifted and reworked into modern movies (and they frequently are, sometimes more subtly than others) once you change the language, it's no longer Shakespeare, until and unless the rewriter can be found who has as much genius for the modern language as Shakespeare had for his own. So far, that hasn't happened, and I don't expect it to any time soon.
As Shakespearean plays go, "The Tempest" is a fairly easy read. There are a few places where the footnotes are absolutely essential, and a few others where the main thrust can be grasped without them, but a double-entendre might be missed. But by and large, the play is readable for the literate modern reader. Granted, the romance element is as shallow as it usually is in Shakespeare, and there really isn't much drama: there's never any real doubt that Prospero and Ariel have matters well in hand. Still, it's an amusing comic romp, and that's all it was ever really intended to be. Don't try to read too many levels of symbolism and allegory into this play (or any other of Shakespeare's comedies, for that matter). You might as well do serious, in-depth analysis of the deeper meaning of "Men In Black II".
The play deals with a shipwreck on an island inhabited by three people - the 'sorcerous' Prospero, his daughter Miranda and the 'beast' Caliban.
As such the play is probably the most thematic of all Shakespeare's plays, there being sub-themes of revenge (Prospero was banished from Milan), slavery (Ariel and Caliban), ridiculous material gain (Trinculo and and Stephano) whilst the main themes are those of innocence, baseness of character and intellectual impartment. Each of these comes into contact with 'civilisation' in the form of the princely shipwreckees with the inevitable innocent Miranda being seduced by Ferdinand and Prospero both separating and sending off the various parties around the island to manipulate the desired outcome. He gets it of course, but the primary focus is on his relationsip to his two 'slaves' Ariel the spirit and Caliban, the beast. The relationships are markedly different, the former being ethereal, intangible; the latter earthy and brutal.
This is certainly Shakespeare's finest play, if not the most poular, simply because it is a microcosm of everything that has gone before. It has romance, brutality, comedy, history, tragedy, pyschology, despair, laughter, the sublime, the ridiculous. None of the rest of the plays are as complete and, to echo George Eliot, you could say that 'The Tempest' was 'performed with [his] own best blood'.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
While its good Shakespeare literature, it's not really my style and therefore I wasn't too into it. I had to read it in my English course, and like most teachers do, she butchered... Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2013 by Linda Carter
The book does not includes the introduction part.The shipping was on time . But I am not sure if It is the one that I want. But the price is reasonable.Published on Oct. 6 2013 by Sherry
Although I wasn't expecting a sturdy book since I ordered a paperback, the book is more feeble than most books I own. Read morePublished on Nov. 28 2011 by Mariane
The Oxford School Shakespeare series is excellent for students, both high schoolers and undergraduates. Read morePublished on June 28 2004 by P. Hildebrand
The Tempest is a play filled with deceit, manipulation and magic. Prospero was dethroned from his dukedom and sent to an island, he uses magic to lure his enemies there. Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2004 by Amelie Kirk
Shakespeare is not my favorite author, although I do understand the concept of his Iambic Pentameter and its style and flourishes are highly regarded. Read morePublished on June 12 2003 by Matt
"The Tempest" is the least interesting Shakespeare play I have read. "Macbeth," "Romeo and Juliet," and "Othello" were much more... Read morePublished on May 16 2003 by Eileen Sims
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