Question: Why does Shakespeare begin this play with the description of a storm?
Answer: In ancient times, and in Shakespeare's day as well, the elements were supposed to be in very
close sympathy with human joy and sorrow. It was believed that Nature, both animate and inanimate, was profoundly disturbed by impending disaster.
Thou see'st the heavens, as troubled with man's act
Threaten his bloody stage. Macbeth, II. 4. 5, 6.
The storm with which this play opens is intended to recall the foul play by which Prospero was robbed
of his dukedom, and he and Miranda were heaved hence out of Milan, and to what was hoped by his enemies would be a cruel death. It is intended, also, to be a punishment upon the doers of that wicked
How to cite this article:
Fleming, William H. How to Study Shakespeare. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1898. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/thetempest/questionst/whybeginstorm.html >.