Manny's Reviews > The Tempest

The Tempest by William Shakespeare
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's review
Mar 10, 11

bookshelves: why-not-call-it-poetry, life-is-shakespeare

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 one of the most brilliant lyrical passages in the English language:
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,
Ye 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.
And I'm afraid I have to give gold to my all-time favorite stage direction:
PROSPERO discovers FERDINAND and MIRANDA playing at chess.
I know that isn't very rational. But The Tempest isn't a very rational play.
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Comments (showing 1-6)

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John Manny, thanks for this, in particular for your two selections, blank verse at once soaring & searing. I'd add, though, that the poetry & irony in this play can thwack you between the eyes in small doses, as well. Case in point: "Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows." (If you like, you could check my 5-star, here)

Manny Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.

I'd forgotten that came from The Tempest! Yes, another great quote.

Kelly That is a good stage direction, but what about "Exit: pursued by a bear" ?? Clearly the best (not that I'm opinionated about this important subject or anything. :))

Manny Well, that's my #2. I just happen to like chess and romance more than bears...

Kelly Well, I can understand that. Bears ARE godless killing machines:

Vane LOL, my favorite part in this play was precisely when Prospero found Ferdinand and Miranda playing Chess.

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