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The Tempest

  • Please see the bottom of this page for helpful Tempest resources.
  • Dramatis Personae.
  • Act 1
    • Scene 1. On a ship at sea: a tempestuous noise
    • Scene 2. The island. Before PROSPERO'S cell.
  • Act 2
  • Act 3
  • Act 4
  • Act 5


Related Articles

 Examination Questions and Answers on The Tempest
 Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Tempest
 Magic, Books, and the Supernatural in The Tempest

 The Tempest: A Marriage Play?
 Introduction to Prospero
 Introduction to Miranda

 Introduction to Caliban
 Introduction to Ariel
 Introduction to Sycorax

 Staging The Tempest
 The Contrast Between Ariel and Caliban in Shakespeare's Tempest
 The Relationship Between Miranda and Ferdinand

 The Tempest: Stages of Plot Development
 The Significance of The Tempest to the Editors of the First Folio
 Exploring the Nature of Shakespearean Comedy

 Blank Verse, Prose, and Diction in Shakespeare's Tempest
 How to Pronounce the Names in The Tempest
 The Tempest: Plot Summary

 Famous Quotations from The Tempest
 Shakespeare's Sources for The Tempest
 Shakespeare's Blank Verse
 Top 10 Shakespeare Plays

 Elements of Comedy
 How many plays did Shakespeare write?
 Shakespeare's Attention to Details

 Shakespeare's Portrayals of Sleep
 Quotations About William Shakespeare
 Why Shakespeare is so Important

 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels
 A Midsummer Night's Dream: Exam Questions and Answers

In the Spotlight

Quote in Context

microsoft imagesYou taught me language; and my profit on't
Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language!
                             The Tempest (1.2), Caliban

Montaigne's essay on the New World, Of Cannibals, is an undisputed source for Shakespeare's The Tempest. Both works are concerned with the differences between natural and artificial society and between barbaric and moral man. Gonzalo's speech on an ideal commonwealth (2.1.143-160) is a direct reference to and refutation of Montaigne's notion of a utopian society, which would be free from obedience to social and moral laws. Notice that Caliban, the name of the character who represents Montaigne's natural man, is an anagram of cannibal (spelled canibal in Shakespeare's time). You can read more about Caliban here.

Shakespeare also had access to a fascinating report by William Strachey, an author and explorer who had been marooned for ten months in Bermuda. It seems Strachey's tales greatly influenced Shakespeare, particularly his accounts of the shipwreck and island life. You can read more about Shakespeare's connection to Strachey here.


Points to Ponder

Prospero. Illustrated by Charles H. Buchel, 1904.We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
                The Tempest (4.1), Prospero

"In The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream Shakespeare portrays man in connection with the supernatural. The principal difference between the plays so far as they relate to this subject is accurately summarised by Victor Hugo as follows 'A Midsummer Night's Dream depicts the action of the invisible world on man; The Tempest symbolizes the action of man on the invisible world.'" [William H. Fleming]

Note that the above quotation is an example of enjambement, which is when the end of the clause does not coincide with the end of the verse or line, and runs on to the next line.