Newest Review: ... almost conforms to the length of the play - it takes two hours to perform the play, and the action supposedly takes place over 4 hours, ... more
I don't really see the point
The Tempest - William Shakespeare
Member Name: Tubbyman
The Tempest - William Shakespeare
Date: 03/08/03, updated on 10/08/03 (128 review reads)
Advantages: Amusing at times, Evocative, Imaginative
Disadvantages: Rather pointless
The Tempest begins with the exiled Lord of Milan, Prospero (who seems a little short on sanity), conjuring up a(n imaginery) storm to shipwreck King Alonso of Naples and his followers, who include Prospero's backstabbing brother and Alonso's son, in vengeance for his exile. When Alonso and his followers recover, they have been separated into three groups. Ferdinand, Alonso's son, who subsequently meets and falls in love with Prospero's beautiful daughter Miranda. The second group consists of Alonso's drunken butler (Stefano) and jester (Trinculo) who come upon Caliban, a savage and deformed native of the island who is Prospero's slave. The remaining group consists of Alonso and his followers, who fear the death of Ferdinand and begin searching the island in the hope that he is alive. Prospero, now an accomplished magician, has various spirits serving him, the principal being Ariel, awaiting freedom from his master's service.
Ferdinand undergoes several trials before Prospero displays his consent to the Prince marrying Miranda. Caliban, coming upon Stefano and Trinculo in boisterous drinking moods, mistakes them for gods and persuades them to murder Prospero and become King's of the island, a plot that is foiled by Prospero's spirits. Two of Alonso's companions decide to commit regicide, but once again this is failed by Prospero's spirits, who watch and divert the company to give Ferdinand time to complete his tasks for Miranda's hand. Ultimately the three groups unite and Prospero forgives them all in a remarkable show of benevolence.
Remarkably, this play is based upon a true story, that of an expedition of nine ships taking 500 colonists from Plymouth to Virginia circa 1609. The flagship, the 'Sea-Adventure', was wrecked and presumed lost in a storm on the coast of Bermuda. However, those aboard managed to make their way safely to Jamestown, Virginia, after having found shelter on the island
of Bermuda where they were able to b
uild pinnaces to complete their journey. It was first performed in Whitehall, on November the 1st 1611, in front of James I.
Although I found the play enchanting, vivid and interesting, by the end I was wondering why Prospero hadn't just returned to Naples and demanded an apology which the King would clearly have given whilst in tears and the play could have lasted only a few minutes.
The character's, relationships and imaginative context gave such promise, but the plot, giving ample reason for graphic vengeance, seemed to end rather limply with Prospero forgiving everyone, even though his own brother had continued to attempt treacherous acts, with no real penance on their part.
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