• Tossed upon the ocean, a
ship carrying the King of
Naples is caught in a sudden,
• On a nearby island, a lone
figure chants incantations,
summoning and controlling
the storm with his powerful
• Elsewhere on the island, a
monstrous figure crouches
• The Tempest is a play by William
Shakespeare, believed to have been written in
1610–11, and thought by many critics to be the
last play that Shakespeare wrote alone.
• There is no obvious single source for the plot
of The Tempest, but it’s believed much of its
inspiration came from an eyewitness report
by William Strachey of the real-life shipwreck of
the Sea Venture on the islands of Bermuda.
• In addition, one of the speeches is derived
from Montaigne's essay Of the Canibales, and
much of Prospero's final speech is taken word for
word from Ovid's poem Metamorphoses.
• The Tempest only attained popularity after
the Restoration, and then only in adapted
versions. In the mid-19th century, theatre
productions began to reinstate the original
Shakespearean text, and in the 20th
century, critics and scholars undertook a
significant re-appraisal of the play's value, to the
extent that it is now considered to be one of
Shakespeare's greatest works.
• Prospero, the main character. The
overthrown Duke of Milan. He now lives on
an island and has become a great sorcerer.
• Miranda, his daughter, who has grown up
on the island since the age of three.
• Ariel, a mischievous spirit who does
Prospero's bidding and is visible only to
• Caliban, a villainous island native, he now
works as Prospero's slave but despises him,
he lusts after Miranda.
• Alonso, King of Naples
• Sebastian, the King’s treacherous brother.
• Antonio, Prospero's brother, who usurped
his position as Duke of Milan. He and
Sebastian now plot to kill King Alonso and
• Ferdinand, Alonso's son. Falls in love with
• King Alonso of Naples and his
entourage sail home for Italy.
They encounter a violent
storm, or Tempest.
• Everyone jumps overboard and
are washed ashore on a
strange island inhabited by the
magician Prospero who has
deliberately conjured up the
• Prospero has brought the ship’s
crew here in order to extract
revenge against his brother and
the king for his and his
• Caliban deeply resents Prospero as he
believes that he is the rightful ruler of
the island. He plots with some of King
Alonso's company to murder Prospero,
and take Miranda for his wife.
• But Miranda and the King’s son,
Ferdinand fall deeply in love. Seeing
this, Prospero delays his revenge, and
decides to test their love to see if it’s
real and lasting.
• Plots against Prospero and King Alonso
are developed but they fail thanks to
• The play ends with all offenders
repenting, even Caliban. Prospero
regains his dukedom, Ariel calms the
Tempest and everyone, except Caliban,
leaves the island.
• The tempest that begins the play
symbolizes the suffering Prospero
endured, and which he wants to
inflict on others.
• Prospero wants to make his
enemies suffer as he has
suffered, so that they will learn
from their suffering, as he has
• The tempest is also a symbol of
Prospero’s magic, and of the
malevolent side of his power.
• Prospero eventually chooses to
give up all his wondrous magical
powers, and live as a normal
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! Act I scene ii
I have great comfort from this fellow. Methinks he
hath no drowning mark upon him; his complexion is
perfect gallows. Gonzalo, scene I
A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous,
incharitable dog! Sebastian, scene I
What see'st thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
Prospero, scene ii
I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
To closeness, and the bettering of my mind.
Prospero, scene ii
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Ariel, Act I scene ii
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. Act IV scene I
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
Trinculo, scene ii
The strongest oaths are straw
To th' fire i' the blood. Be more abstemious,
Or else good night your vow!
Prospero, Act IV scene i
Stephano: Here; swear then how thou escapedst.
Trinculo: Swam ashore man, like a duck; I can swim
like a duck, I'll be sworn.
Stephano: Here, kiss the book. Though thou canst
swim like a duck, thou art made like a goose.
He that dies pays all debts. Stephano, scene ii
The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had wak'd after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that, when I wak'd,
I cried to dream again.
Caliban, scene ii
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't! Miranda, Act V scene i
• The Tempest has been
classified as a “romance”
and it’s lush, mysterious
setting and tone has
inspired countless classical
musical composers to set it
to music, both symphonic
• In addition several ballets
have been commissioned
that use The Tempest as
their source material.
• The Tempest has received over twenty film
treatments, the first in 1905! Notable
• A silent 1908 version
• In 1956, Forbidden Planet took the story of
The Tempest and placed it in outer space!
• A 1960 Hallmark Hall of Fame version with
• A 1980 version for the BBC starring Michael
• A stop-motion animated version for the
• A 2010 live stage edition starring
• And most recently, The Tempest was filmed
by director Julie Taymor with actress Helen
Mirren taking the role of Prospera!
A Nutsy the Squirrel Production
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