1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rather like a dream
Many consider "The Tempest" to be the final play that Shakespeare wrote solo, which gives a certain bittersweet flavor to its story -- especially since the main character is a sorcerer who manipulates others to get the ending he desires. Shakespeare juggled a trio of main stories before tying them off in rare style, but it's Prospero and his final speech that are truly...
Published on June 4 2010 by E. A Solinas
3.0 out of 5 stars It would be five stars, if not written by Shakespeare
The Tempest was an interesting tale, that kept jumping from scene to scene, not wanting you to put it down. The magical, illusional, and assymetrical events somehow have a more modern twist to them than other plays. When I was finished I felt like Shakespeare didn't complete this play or was rushed. Compared to his other works, it wasn't as fulfilling.
Published on June 23 1999
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rather like a dream,
This review is from: The Tempest (Paperback)
Many consider "The Tempest" to be the final play that Shakespeare wrote solo, which gives a certain bittersweet flavor to its story -- especially since the main character is a sorcerer who manipulates others to get the ending he desires. Shakespeare juggled a trio of main stories before tying them off in rare style, but it's Prospero and his final speech that are truly intriguing.
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. Even the insults are brilliant -- just try yelling "A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!" at someone you don't like.
Prospero is a rather unique character -- he rules over his little island with magical powers, sort of like a local demigod. Everything that happens on the island is because he wants it to be so, but he's a sad, benevolent figure rather than a tyrannical one. And Shakespeare sketches up an intriguing cast of characters, both mortal and immortal -- the ethereal, puckish Ariel and grotesque Caliban, the naive Miranda, and the contemptible trio of onetime conspirators.
"O brave new world, That has such people in't!" cries Miranda at the end of "The Tempest," and while not every character in it deserves a "brave new world," the play itself feels like a weekend trip into a magical world.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series for students,
This review is from: Oxford School Shakespeare: The Tempest: Trade Edition (Paperback)
The Oxford School Shakespeare series is excellent for students, both high schoolers and undergraduates. They provide play text that is clearly and attractively laid out on the page with copious notes and annotations, as well as line-drawings and illustrations to enliven and elucidate. The introductory material on sources, plot summary, characterizations, thematic interpretations, music, and even suggestions for classwork and projects for expanded study, are excellent. Highly recommended!
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tempest Review,
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. This is unlike any Shakespeare I have read before, I enjoyed but was a bit surprised. Shakespeare doesn't usually lean toward magic but this time he did. It was enjoyable, a fast read, that takes a reader into another world.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Commentary on an unusual play,
Shakespeare is not my favorite author, although I do understand the concept of his Iambic Pentameter and its style and flourishes are highly regarded. While I can appreciate the labor it must take to put a story in such format, I frankly find the poetics of it hard to read. That makes the commentary (which is about half of this version) very helpful to people such as myself. By reading the corresponding notes, I was better able to put the story together with the style, making for an exciting tale. I would highly recommend this version to people who have difficulty deciphering Shakespeare's style.
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Tempest":,
This review is from: The Tempest (Paperback)
First off, let's clarify one thing: when rating Shakespeare, I'm rating it as opposed to other Shakespeare. Otherwise, the consistent "5 stars" wouldn't tell you much. So when I rate this play five stars, I'm saying it's one of Shakespeare's absolute best.
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".
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Easy to Figure out,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tempest (Shakespeare Made Easy) (Paperback)
Shakespeare's play, The Tempest, is thought to be the most complex of his plays. The Island can be seen as a microcosm of life, and how Miranda comes alive after being captive to her father's tormented imprisonment of his own making.
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's 'intellectual' play,
'The Tempest' was the last of Shakespeare's plays and contains all of the finest elements of his comedies, tragedies and histories. Indeed, one wonders as to the autobiographical makeup of Prospero, 'The Tempest' coming across as a signatory piece.
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'.
Sure, Macbeth, King Lear or Hamlet - greatest tragedy, A Midsummer's Night Dream or Romeo and Juliet - greatest romance, Two Gentlemen of Verona or The Merchant of Venice - greatest comedy, Henry V or Richard III - greatest history ; I am sure there are many arguments for all of his plays to be classed as the greatest in the individual genres.
But, 'The Tempest' was his last play, the one that blends all of the above, and as such, when you really study it, it has to be his finest.
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare is Shakespeare, but buy this version,
I'm not going to tell you about the Tempest, I'm going to dwell on the features of the book. This book contains numerous aids to guide you in your studies or pleasure reading. Along with an assortment of detailed footnotes to aid you in awkawrdly stated prose, their is a list of common words that Shakespeare uses and what they stand for in the context of the play. Contains a short biography that explains the life and times of William Shakespeare as well as an introduction to the play which helps you to understand the complexities of the play or the general meaning behind it. The introduction even breaks down a few blocks of tought prose to explain better their meaning. THere are also textual notes, commentary and suggested references. Even a good line finds it's way into the actual play as Stephano remarks "He that dies pays all debts.". Enjoy.
4.0 out of 5 stars What to say about The Tempest,
In every Shakespeare play I've read, i always have been depressed...partially because I've read most of the tragedies, but let's not get into that.
The Tempest is called a romance...as if. The romance part belongs to Ferdinand and Miranda, who have maybe, MAYBE twenty lines at most. That's the only romance in this play. No, this is a comedy, and a fairly funny comedy. The group of men who are stranded on Prosperos island are hilarious. While Gonzalo can be that boring old worrywart, Adrian, Sebastian, Alonso are makinf fun of everyone, and it's funny.
Trinculo and Stephano are funny because of how drunk they are, and poor Caliban, even though he tried to rape Miranda...he thought he got himself out of being a servant for Prosepero, and landed a job with a bunch of drunks.
Ariel is the character I liked the most because he...or maybe a she, I never could tell...is the sanest of the lot. he does what he is told, and he enjoys it, and he never complains about it. He speaks with intelligence, and he's not as ditzy or mystical, as his three other faries, Juno, Ceres, and Iris.
The Tempest is a great Shakespeare play (Macbeth still ranks number one on my list) but it gets four stars for how long some of the scenes are. Act four is one scene, if that tells you anything. After a while, you need some funniness from Adrian and Sebastian to save you from prosepero, or maybe you need Devotion and Loyalty from Ferdinand, Miranda, and Ariel.
5.0 out of 5 stars the most useful series by far,
I own a great ragtag collection of Shakespeare's play, from a one-volume monster through the hardcover "Arden" editions to a variety of paperbacks. The New Folger Library paperbacks are by far the best. The introductions are intelligent and well-written, as is the concluding essay that follows every play and the notes (which take up the lefthand page, while the text is on the right) are useful and not intrusive.
I've settled on the New Folger Library paperbacks as the books I read before I go to a play. They're cheap and well-done.
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The Oxford Shakespeare: The Tempest by William Shakespeare (Paperback - May 17 2008)
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