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The Tempest

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  182,271 ratings  ·  4,563 reviews
The acclaimed Pelican Shakespeare series, now in a dazzling new series design

Winner of the 2016 AIGA + Design Observer 50 Books | 50 Covers competition

Gold Medal Winner of the 3×3 Illustration Annual No. 14

This edition of The Tempest is edited with an introduction and notes by Peter Holland and was recently repackaged with cover art by Manuja Waldia. Waldia received a Gol
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Penguin Books (first published 1611)
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Edward Richmond I don't see any reason to think that he didn't reform, given that he broke his wizard's staff, freed Ariel, and threw his book of spells into the ocea…moreI don't see any reason to think that he didn't reform, given that he broke his wizard's staff, freed Ariel, and threw his book of spells into the ocean.

I suppose you could re-imagine the argument of the play to suppose that his dependence on these implements, along with Ariel as a servant, somehow failed to remove his ability to practice magic, but that's certainly not what Shakespeare implied, and it wouldn't be consistent with prevailing ideas of his time about how a magus would have operated.

Prospero probably was modeled on John Dee, a real person, who was basically Elizabeth I's "court wizard." He was a colorful personage who kept an extensive library of occult texts and paraphernalia for use in ritual magic and alchemy.

John Dee's death in 1608 or 1609 preceded the first performance of Tempest by a couple of years. Since Shakespeare's career included a long stint in the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which basically meant that his theatrical troupe was officially sponsored by the man in charge of putting on entertainments at the court of Elizabeth I, it's entirely probable that Shakespeare had met Dee a few times.

I think that's pretty good evidence that Shakespeare was acquainted with the idea of wizards through Dee, and thus, that he thought of Prospero's magic as being rooted in the execution of rituals dependent on the aforementioned staff and book, along with Ariel as a familiar.

Since Prospero explicitly sets Ariel free (Ariel doesn't even wait around to say goodbye), there's no reason to think he's lying about having broken his staff and thrown his book into the ocean. So there's no actual evidence to support your interpretation.

That doesn't mean you can't imagine things otherwise if you want; it's not like there's some kind of literary police that will drag you out of your house in the middle of the night and beat you with a rubber hose until you recant.

But there's no evidence to support your theory, and quite a bit of circumstantial evidence to poke holes in it.(less)
Zara Boss Ariel is a spirit of the island, trapped in an oak tree by Sycorax, Caliban's mother. Ariel was freed by Prospero, and then served him until set free.…moreAriel is a spirit of the island, trapped in an oak tree by Sycorax, Caliban's mother. Ariel was freed by Prospero, and then served him until set free.(less)

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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
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 it
Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
****Spoiler alert. Which seems really funny to do with a play over 400 years old.****

 photo Tempest20Prospero_zpsv5rxakgh.jpg

”Our revels now are ended...These our actors,
As I fortold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air,
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which is inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind: we are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Tempest, William Shakespeare

The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1610–1611, and thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone.

It is set on a remote island, where the sorcerer Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and skillful manipulation.

He conjures up a storm, the eponymous tempest, to cause his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso
Sean Barrs
It’s so easy to judge Caliban based upon his actions and his violent speech, but he does have some real problems that cause them. He tried to rape Miranda. This is, of course, an absolutely terrible thing; however, does Caliban actually know this?

In his life he has only known two people prior to meeting Prospero and Miranda. The first person he knew of was his mother; she was the evil witch who raised him. This doesn’t sound like a fun childhood. The second person he knew was his mother’s slave
Leonard Gaya
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s last plays, and somehow he probably knew this as he was writing and producing it. While I was rereading this book for the umpteenth time, I realised how strongly this particular play goes over and wraps up all the thirty-five plays that came before it.

The plot is intricate, but could be summed up like so: Prospero lives on a remote island, deposed and exiled from his dukedom of Milan (as in King Lear, as in the Duke in As You Like It, or even the Duke in The T
Henry Avila
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Shakespeare's last play which he wrote every word of, the burnt-out but rich distinguished gentleman just wanted to go back to his little, quiet, pretty home town of Stratford-upon-Avon and relax, enjoy himself. After more than twenty strenuous, nevertheless productive years of writing for the stage, he needs the calm and leave noisy London, far, far, behind. Besides Shakespeare is pushing 50, old for the time (17th century ) his illustrious career unmatched, then or now... The Tempest s ...more
"Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
Prospero, (Act IV, Scene i)


THE TEMPEST is my favorite of of all of William Shakespeare's works. THE TEMPEST is a marvel on several levels chiefly among them is the playwright's talent had not waned in all the years he had written for the stage. This is Shakespeare's farewell to the stage and to public life. It is brilliant.

My take on THE TEMPEST is quite different from many o
J.L.   Sutton
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest is interesting on so many levels. I especially like how it looks at both the economic benefits of colonialism along with its much uglier side, namely, exploitation and racism. In the play, Prospero, as banished duke of Milan, has taken control of a small island and enslaved Caliban who Prospero sees as unfit to rule his native land. Shakespeare brilliantly captures this attitude of superiority toward the colonized. This is something that will have implications f ...more
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Your tale, Sir, would cure deafness!"

These words, spoken by the lovely character Miranda, listening to her father Prospero telling her of the political misfortunes of their previous life, apply to almost anything Shakespeare put on stage!

Whenever I try to review a favourite play by the Bard, I inevitably have to reread, to ponder, to think. What does this mean to me, at this moment in time? Why to I revisit this play - again? And why do I have to add to the countless words spoken on the words
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

Believed to have been written in 1611, this may have been one of his last plays. The mature bard, he would have been 47 at this time and with only 5 more years left in this world, created in my humble opinion one of his finest plays.

“...and then, in dreaming, / The clouds methought would open and show riches / Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked / I cried to dream again.”

Telling the tale of shipwrecked Prospero, the sorcerer Duke of Milan, and his
Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Tempest, a play written around 1610 by William Shakespeare. Ever wonder where the word prosperous came from? Or did Shakespeare name the lead character in this play Prospero as a nod to the word prosperous? They are one in the same... sort of. Prospero's been cast off onto an island and wants to restore a life for his daughter. Thru trickery and imagination, he succeeds in a manner of speaking, and though it's a troubled path, he learns his lessons in t
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tell me what I want to hear
Recommended to Dolors by: One thing leads to another
Shakespeare’s last play is a stroke of a genius. Defying categorization, The Tempest is the hybrid result of merging tragedy, comedy and fantasy that condenses The Bard's genius in the symbolical representation of the world through the demirugical elements of Greek mythology.
The setting takes place on an exotic island where Prospero and his astonishingly beautiful daughter Miranda have lived in exile for the last twelve years. Overthrown by his treacherous brother, Prospero has crowned himself r
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
"Your tale, sir, would cure deafness."

The first time I read Shakespeare was when I was around ten years old. I borrowed a collected edition of translated Shakespearian plays from my library just because I heard someone talk about him. I read around half a dozen of his famous plays like a pro.... and everything I read went over my head. There were merchants, betrayal, ghosts, blood, somebody's skull! What's happening?

But Tempest was an exception. My younger version loved that play bec
Michael Finocchiaro
This may be my favourite Shakespeare play with its multiple levels of meaning, its enigmatic characters and its driving plot. I remember discussing it for hours in high school and being amazed at how, 600 years later, the themes had still not been exhausted. To be re-read this year for sure!
Lucy Langford
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With a bit of hard work and trying to understand the language- I actually enjoyed this one !
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!”

Because of Warner! <3
Well this was okay??

my funeral is in a month, i hope to see y'all there.

cause of death: reading this boring shit in class
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

Prospero manipulates his daughter Miranda, the prince Ferdinand, his father (the King of Naples), Ariel, Caliban, and the rest of the cast! But in the end **spoiler warning here, if anyone actually needs it** he sets his slaves free and forgives those who've wronged (tried to murder) him, and also has some really excellent lines, so it's all good.

Review to come.

Initial comments: The "book from the 1600s" space is one of the last few that need to be filled in on my 2016 Classics Bingo card. I tri
Feb 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, the-bard
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
This is the racist one. The Tempest is racist. Merchant of Venice is the anti-Semitic one, Titus Andronicus is the slasher one, Much Ado is the vagina one, this is the racist one. Caliban is a “Man of Ind,” the West Indies, where Columbus first set anchor, and he is
A devil, a born devil, on whose nature
Nurture can never stick: on whom my pains,
Humanely taken, all, all lost, quite lost!
And as with age his body uglier grows,
So his mind cankers.

Birmingham Royal Ballet gives him a snail shell, rad,
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play, classics
As part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, I needed to read a play and what better play to read than “The Tempest” having recently read and adored Margaret Atwood’s retelling in “Hag-Seed.” I have an even greater appreciation of “Hag-Seed” having read the original again. It had been more than twenty years since I’ve read Shakespeare. I found it simultaneously difficult to navigate the Old English and thematically extremely relevant to modern day. There is so much complexity within this brie ...more
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
Manuel Antão
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

On this re-reading I noticed that the word "brave" was used a few times in the movies that I watched (Taymor, 2010 & Jarman 1979).

I like this word. It generates a very good feeling in my heart. This word often makes me think of someone who has a quality to face something difficult with the strength of heart / mind / body... Does not take me much to feel a respect and admiration for this person...

I also come to know that the word "bra
Jason Koivu
What was that?

I expected a long drawn out battle of mariners versus a violent sea. There's a few lines of sailors fighting a storm at the start and then the rest is played out on land. Ah, "played," there's the nub! For this is an early 17th century play meant for the stage. Not a likely time and place for a lavish production with a water tank, ship and wind machine, though that would've been hella cool. Some Shakespeareanophile tell me my envisioned production went down at least once back in th
Mar 31, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

This was the first time I read Shakespeare in English. I liked the play. But it was so immensely difficult for me to read that it wasn't exactly a lot of fun to do so. Hence the three star rating.

The Tempest is a tale of revenge and forgiveness, with some romance, as well as the occasional moments of poetry and comedy. Pretty enjoyable overall, if one is willing to put a bit of effort into reading it.

In my c
Emily B
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would and wish I read it much sooner. I love how different it is to the other Shakespeare plays i’ve read so far.

‘This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine’
Prospero, the rightful king of Milan, was overthrown by his brother Alonso and cast onto the open sea with his toddler daughter, Miranda. Alonso expected the two to drown, but by some fortune or providence they wash up safe on a distant island instead.

They find the island uninhabited save by the recently deceased witch Sycorax, her son Caliban (called “monstrous” in appearance, but never described in any concrete detail), and an “airy spirit” named Ariel who was trapped in a cloven pine by Sycor
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Let us not burden our remembrances with a heaviness that’s gone.”

"The Tempest" is Shakespeare's last great play, and in an oddly appropriate manner it is very different from much of his earlier efforts. Unlike most of Shakespeare's work, "The Tempest" seems to have come mostly from the Bard's own mind, and does not have source materials from which Shakespeare lifted the plot. Pulling from a few current events and bits and pieces of the literature of the day Shakespeare constructed a piece that
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, plays
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”

The last time I read a Shakespearean play was in High School: not because I had to for class, but because the author gave a character in one of his plays my name (and oh joy: Puck the Fae was as small and twiggy as I was in my teens).
This time the bad autumn weather was the reason for me picking up Shakespeare again, and where Richard III and Macbeth are filled with dramatic tension, the Tempest surpris
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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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