The Tempest
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The Tempest

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  88,315 ratings  ·  1,570 reviews
In The Tempest, long considered one of Shakespeare's most lyrical plays, Prospero—a magician on an enchanted island—punishes his enemies, brings happiness to his daughter, and comes to terms with human use of supernatural power. The Tempest embodies both seemingly timeless romance and the historically specific moment in which Europe begins to explore and conquer the New Wo...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 1612)
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Madeline
The Tempest, abridged.
*or maybe not so abridged. But in my defense, this play is really fucking complicated*

MIRANDA: So, um, Daddy, did you notice that huge-ass storm that just crashed a ship on the shore of our previously deserted island?
PROSPERO: Wow, is it exposition time already? Okay, kiddo, listen up: I used to be the duke of Milan, but then my asshole brother and the King of Naples put you and me on a boat and we ended up here on Wherever-The-Hell-Island, but luckily it's full of spirit...more
Bram
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
...more
Cheryl
Shakespeare's last play without collaboration might represent the consequences of unbridled power and the rewards of forgiveness and possible reconciliation. Much evil has been directed to the central character, Prospero. Stripped of political power and banished to a remote, unsustainable island with his young daughter, he collects under his will all human and mystical powers to bring justice to the perpetrators of the crimes against him.

Psychologically, long separations without imput from othe...more
Fewlas
Se c’è una cosa che ha reso Shakespeare immortale e degno di tutte le attenzioni possibili è la sua immaginazione. Ovvero, ci sono altre centinaia di ragioni, ma la sua immaginazione prevale su tutte. Sebbene una certa critica contemporanea (si dice il peccato ma non il peccatore) tenti di sminuire i meriti di questo genio sottolineando il fatto che la maggior parte delle trame di Shakespeare non sia originale, ma tratta da fonti a lui più o meno contemporanee, il potere immaginifico non diminui...more
Henry Avila
William Shakespeare's last play ,that he wrote every word.The burnt-out but rich gentleman ,just wants to go back to his little home town of Stratford-on-Avon.After more than twenty years of writing for the stage, he needs to relax and leave London, far behind.Besides Shakespeare is pushing 50, old for the time. The Tempest story begins with a terrific storm that drives a ship carrying noblemen on the shore, of an unnamed island, off the coast of probably Italy(Shakespeare is vague about the loc...more
Alex
The Tempest is almost a wisp of a thing. There's little plot and almost no character development. It's like a magic trick: you blow into your hand, and a cloud of flame pops up, and a dove flies out of it, everyone claps.

So the play is the spectacle, and the magic is the language. Prospero's speech, "We are such stuff as dreams are made on," is second maybe only to "All the world's a stage" in crystallizing Shakespeare's philosophy (and better, poetically); and there's Miranda's line, "O brave...more
Manny
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 on...more
Bill  Kerwin

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...more
Miriam
Nov 09, 2012 Miriam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miriam by: Ariel
Shelves: fantasy, theater
What I love about The Tempest is the magical isle, its airy spirits and earthy Caliban. There is also some great commentary on politics, colonialism, and human ambition.

I forget when I'm not reading it how much of it consists of some dudes being assholes.
Terence
Sep 20, 2010 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Who would I not recommend it to?
I finished my rereading of The Tempest earlier today. As usual when I reread one of the Bard's plays, I appreciate it more. I can definitely upgrade my initial reaction to a solid 3 stars. It's still not a favorite; many of the qualms I had from my original review remain. Except perhaps at the end when Prospero gives up the power his magic gives him, though I couldn't tell you why he does so - Shakespeare doesn't give us much in the way of motivation for any of his actions. For example, why does...more
Io
"We are such stuff
As dream aer made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."

"Noi siamo della stessa materia
Di cui son fatti i sogni
E la nostra piccola vita
E' circondata da un sonno."

Prendete questo verso, riempitevi il calice di vino, fatelo roteare e ossigenare, accostatevi il vostro naso e godetevi l'aroma, la mistica fragranza, e inebriatevi l'anima. Quanti significati può avere? Quanti? Mi perdo lentamente per labirintici sentieri - con il sorriso di un bambino ogni tanto mi guardo i...more
Brad
Harry Potter and the Tempest of Voldemort*
BY JK SHAKESPEARE

Act I, Scene ii

(VOLDEMORT and BELLATRIX in a musty, dusty English mansion in a state of disrepair.)

VOLDEMORT
Here cease more questions:
Thou art inclined to sleep; 'tis a good dulness,
And give it way: I know thou canst not choose.

(BELLATRIX sleeps)
Come away, servant, come. I am ready now.
Approach, my WORMTAIL, come.

(Enter WORMTAIL)

WORMTAIL
All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come
To answer thy best pleasure; be't to fly,
To s...more
Greg
How do you review Shakespeare?

I read this so that I could read Arno Schmidt's School for Atheists, which according to the back cover draws heavily from The Tempest. I didn't love The Tempest as much as say Hamlet, but I enjoyed it just fine. I'll probably need to re-read it again to really begin to get it.

I should read more Shakespeare. Like the Bible I'm of the firm belief, but not practice, that both should be read in their entirety to even begin to be fully literate in Western literature. T...more
David
I have always felt a little slighted about my middle name - Prosper - even though it is felicitous in the most literal sense of the word, I have always been a bit put out by it's oddness. I inherited it from a great grandfather, or some other, who I have never met. But as the years of easy childish embarrassment recede, I find myself clinging to it with a newly forged appreciation, and in part it is because I have re-styled it as an homage to Prospero, à la Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Shakespeare'...more
Chiara Pagliochini
“Non avere paura: l’isola è piena di rumori, di suoni, di dolci arie che danno gioia e non malinconia.”

Quando nessuno guarda, io e zio Billy cerchiamo di stabilire se ci piacciamo o meno. Lui ha questo sguardo un po’ sornione, da puttana di classe, che a me irrita da morire. E non c’è mai una volta che non gli tiri una cuscinata. Tuttavia, poi, sappiamo come far pace e se proprio proprio non ci adoriamo (non ancora), se non altro riusciamo a impostare una discussione costruttiva senza sbranarci....more
Rauf
Dec 11, 2009 Rauf rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Everyone
Hmmm...

Wouldn't it be interesting if Prospero, Ariel, Sycorax and Caliban are used in another story? A darker, bloodier, gung-hoer story involving time-machines and space lizards? I say yes.
--
Dec. 2009 --
Above was my old review. I chose not to erase it so I will always remember just how stupid I was. The Tempest was a great play. The dynamics between the characters -- especially Ariel-Prospero, Caliban-Stephano -- were fantastic.
For my NaNoWriMo novel I borrowed the main characters from The Temp...more
Kelly
May 24, 2007 Kelly rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Shakespeare fans
I think this is the most beautifully written of any Shakespeare play, of whatever category. Tragedy, comedy, tragi-comedy, etc. Nothing beats it in terms of the magic that it induces in the audience. Shakespeare is literally able to conjure magic with these words, and it brings tears to my eyes to read it. I think Prospero is one of the more heartbreaking characters. Mostly, perhaps, because of the analogy to Shakespeare. The final speech gets right to the heart. The master at the peak of his po...more
Caris
The Tempest is about some assholes on an island.
Chris
The Tempest is not one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. It’s lovely, but it has always been like a weird form of cotton candy, almost like cotton candy on acid. This could be because my first encounter with the play was via part of the movie Prospero’s Books, where I couldn’t get pass the boy peeing into the pool. It could be my reaction to Tad Williams’ Caliban’s Hour. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t really make my top ten.

Like Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest takes place over a short span of d...more
Nora
Sorry guys, I've got to get to class soon, so this review is going to be far from perfect. Forgive me?

Well...so...um...that was disappointing.

So I didn't read this one of my own volition. When my English professor assigned "The Tempest" I was actually pretty excited to start it. I'd heard so much talk about how much of a classic it was, how it was Shakespeare's last play, and how all around awesome it was. Sadly, I didn't really find much awesomeness.



Let's begin with my biggest problem with this...more
Helen (Helena/Nell)
I know this is meant to be the last play Shakespeare wrote. It is meant to be a sort of poetic farewell when Prospero announces:

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

But I was never convinced by this. That’s a lovely speech, and so is the bit about our little lives being rounded by a sleep—but surely not a way to finish one’s dramatic career? It’s nowhere near as powerful as lots of other Shakespeare. It can’t, surely...more
Jeanette (Most of My Favorite Authors Are Dead)
What with a desert island and sorcery and spirits and a real live monster (Caliban) born of a witch, I'd expected to be more enchanted by this story. To be fair, I'm sure it's a lot more fun to see it performed than to read. I just wasn't all that thrilled with it, and I found some of the passages hard to get through. The language was at times more difficult to understand than some of Shakespeare's other (better) plays.
The_Bookchemist
Possibly the most "contemporary" of Shekaspeare's plays, guaranteed to entertain you as few other plays, to inspire great reflections and to make you think about, or rethink, the way you view conquest, justice and progress.

Featured in my Top 5 Shakespearean Comedies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Vomb...
John
Mar 21, 2010 John rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: readers who long for a reawakening, in every sense
Recommended to John by: Mom, maybe?
For too long I've been ducking the challenge of saying something useful about Shakespeare, here on GR. Okay: THE TEMPEST, & never mind that the play may not be his absolute best. Some dramaturgical Supreme Court might rule that this late, dark comedy lacks the relentlessness & invention of HAMLET, the gloom & outrage of LEAR, the blood & oratory of MACBETH. Yes, but TEMPEST haunts me these days. Prospero haunts me, in other words; the drama's all him, his ferocity, his affections...more
Guido
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
liz
I first read this play on my own for a European History class, where I was expected to relate the themes to Europe's imperialism and colonies founded in the Indies. I thought it was interesting at the time, but I only really appreciated it after discussing it in a formal Shakespeare class. The main thing that I love about this play is that the line between fantasy and reality is blurred to the point where you're not sure what's being caused by magic and what's actually happening as an effect fro...more
Chris Blocker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nikki
It's very tempting to make this review simply, "It's Shakespeare. What do you expect?"

I'm really glad I never had to study The Tempest. I've never been able to appreciate Shakespeare (or Chaucer, for that matter) when he was shoved down my throat for a course. I'm glad that I could randomly decide to pick it up on a Saturday morning, with a background of Loreena McKennitt's beautiful Prospero's Speech. Aside from seeing them performed live, I think coming to Shakespeare's plays of your own accor...more
Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ariel
JUST NOT MY CUP OF TEA, IM AFRAID.

I've been looking forward to reading this play for a long time: one of the main characters is named Ariel and she's a fairy! Unfortunately, I just didn't take much away from it. I felt like the exciting plot had come before this play and that the plot during the play was not exciting or interesting. The characters felt very flat and uninteresting, that the comedy was not personally funny, that the lead was not someone I liked at all, and that the romance was rea...more
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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 tr...more
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Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” 3371 likes
“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.”
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