top of page
  • Writer's pictureSnappy notes


Updated: Dec 8, 2020


The Tempest written by William Shakespeare is a play about magic, betrayal, love and forgiveness. It is one of the Shakespeare’s most imaginative and unusual plays. Its setting on an island leads Shakespeare to approach more familiar themes, such as authority and legitimacy, through a new lens, leading to a fascinating engagement with questions regarding illusion, otherness, the natural world, and human nature. The Tempest has had a particular influence on nature studies and in particular the 19th century movement of European Romanticism, with its emphasis on the interaction between man and nature. It also has had significant influence on studies of colonialism, as it depicts Europeans taking over a foreign and tropical island.The play was produced during the reign of King James I. It is thought to have been inspired by Shakespeare's reading of a real-life event described by a voyager: On July 24, 1609 a fleet of nine English vessels was nearing the end of a supply voyage to the new colony of the Bermudas when it ran into “a cruel tempest,” presumably a hurricane.

The Tempest is largely considered Shakespeare's most magical work and with good reason. The play opens with a huge magical storm capable of shipwrecking the main cast, and the survivors are magically distributed across the island. Along with Shakespeare's other late plays Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Winter's Tale, The Tempest contains elements of both tragedy and comedy, with the overall structure of the play moving from “tragic” beginning to “comedic” ending. The fact that no one dies in the play, discord is repaired, misunderstandings are resolved, and lovers are united in marriage all contribute to the play's classification as a comedy. It takes place all in one day. In the case of why The Tempest is the title of the play, the storm is the culprit of all the prolonged trauma of the inmates on the ship. However, it can take on another meaning entirely, meaning that the title of the play implies a violent commotion or turmoil that took place in the mind of certain characters. The Tempest ends with a general sense of resolution and hope. After four acts in which Prospero uses magic to split up, disorient, and psychologically torture his enemies, in the final act he lures everyone to the same spot on the island and forgives Alonso and Antonio for their betrayal twelve years prior.

<---Characters List and Settings ACT I Summary ---->

136 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page