The Tempest

The Tempest was a particularly interesting read for me. I found that it was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I happen to find fiction and play-like reads to be easier for me, since it doesn’t appear to be as difficult of a task. Essentially, I find that plays are a friendlier read (if that even makes sense), less overwhelming for me.

With that being said, The Tempest kept me invested and entertained as a reader. I greatly enjoyed it as a whole. From the plot, to the magical aspects of the play, and the complexity of the characters; everything, I found was quite interesting. In class we analyzed many parts of The Tempest, that of which being how a predominant theme in this play is centered around stagecraft and the theatre itself. I found that it was interesting learning of how this play was interpreted and presented during Shakespearean times, as it addresses audiences directly and it’s power over other people.

Additionally, upon reading The Tempest, the lingering thought about monstrosity was in my mind. In this play, monsters are greatly looked down upon, mocked, and immensely belittled. Essentially, they are viewed as unnatural, outsiders, and deceptive. This particular stereotype has a great effect on one character in particular, Caliban. With Caliban being perceived and represented as a figure for monstrosity, I believe that he is a mere victim in this case. He is bullied by others that merely have the power to demean and undermine his intelligence, which significantly and heavily disadvantages Caliban’s confidence, and ability to defend himself from constantly being harassed and looked down upon.

While reading this, I also definitely got a sense Prospero’s character as well. For instance, Prospero greatly demeans Ariel, making him feel forever indebted to him. Essentially, I got a sense of how Prospero is abusive, and greatly takes advantage of Ariel, demonstrating his superiority and narcissism, whereas Ariel expresses his fearful and submissive attitude towards his mistreatment.  I also found it quite captivating with how The Tempest is Shakespeare’s final play that he wrote. Thus, I thought that Prospero’s monologue when he explains how he is going to get rid of his books containing magic was an excellent way to relate both conceptsAs a whole, I found The Tempest to be a great classical play to read. I felt as though I was able to engage with the characters and the storyline.

The Tempest

Coming back to Shakespeare feels rather natural, having done one of his plays every year of high school, and preformed a few of them throughout elementary. Though I’m more used to his tragedies than comedies, so this was a bit of a change. I do admittedly enjoy Shakespeare, having done so much with it in the past. The language isn’t as foreign or tricky anymore, though it does still have its challenges, just to a lesser extent. Perhaps it’s just because I’m used to Shakespeare’s plays that I like them, I feel a little more confident in my ability to write an essay on one.

            Though I wouldn’t say The Tempest was my favourite play, I did like it. I found, for one thing, a few Machiavellian ideas that ran through it, prominently with Prospero. Arial does his dirty work, and so he very effectively keeps his hands clean. He’s certainly manipulative and deceiving, never letting on to how much he’s pulling the strings.

            I found the most interesting characters of this play to be Caliban and Ariel. I guess I’m intrigued by their suffering, I feel as though these characters had the most depth of them all. Though I’m not discounting the others, I do believe they all have very multi-layered complexity and are by no means overly simplistic. It’s just that Caliban and Ariel most caught my curiosity. This could have something to do with the fact that I read a book a few years ago called “eyes like stars” by Lisa Mantchev, which portrayed Ariel as a very significant character who was slightly villain like, and deceptive and tricky. So, coming into the book, that was the impression I had of Ariel. While reading the book, however, I didn’t interpret Ariel like that. Though he certainly causes trickery and deception, I took this as only to be Prospero’s bidding, which he’s doing to serve his desire to be freed. He’s not like puck, who takes more joy in his mischief.

            I pictured Caliban as a sort of hunchbacked man, somewhat like Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame. He was given fish-like qualities but I interpreted that as greasy hair and his odd frame. I suppose that my mind went to lengths to picture him as human, despite evidence to the contrary. I was reminded of Richard III, probably largely because of the hunchback, but they both seemed misinterpreted by those around them. Caliban is not as cruel as Richard III was depicted to be, however. But his appearance did play a very large role in how he was thought of.

The Tempest

The Tempest.


The Tempest is the first Shakespearean work I ever had to read. It was also the day I learnt that Shakespeare, the guy I had formerly knew as the guy with the skull, says “to be or not to be, that is the question” and had written a love story called Romeo and Juliet. And to this day I still thoroughly enjoy it. My secondary school did a take on The Tempest working with the physical theatre group called the Zen Zen Zo. The tempest and the depiction of it was so good, they had a whole load of Ariels above flicking water into the audience as the ships crew fought it out with the ship. It was amazing and that is how I tend to view the play. The most memorable moment of the play, when I watched what I believe to be an animated version, I cannot really remember since I was in the 5th or 6th grade, was the part where Caliban meets Trincolo and Stephano.

The Tempest is a very interesting play; this tempest, that shipwrecks Alonzo and company, is completely orchestrated by Prospero. I like the idea that the play is contained on a, essentially, deserted island and every aspect of the marooned peoples is controlled by Prospero. Prospero himself is an interesting character he is shown to be very controlling over everything, from the shipwrecked to his servants (Ariel and Caliban), even his daughter’s relationship! (Although that sort of stuff was normal of the time). It is nice to see that, after his brother betrays him, he becomes more cautious of people and their thoughts since before he would hack away at studying while he let his brother govern for him.

After writing a paper on Machiavelli and Medea, I would say that Prospero does a pretty bad job in Machiavelli’s books. A Machiavellian prince for instance would have killed the original inhabitants, especially if they tried to kill him. Prospero is neither feared nor loved by Caliban or Ariel.

To end, I have watched a pretty strange rendition of Romeo and Juliet. It was FANTASTIC, despite having the strangest ending ever. The end of this animated Romeo and Juliet ended with Romeo being killed by a tree lady (A lady who had like tree arms) and Juliet becoming a tree to save everyone. I felt that took away from the tragedy, but it was fun and romantic along the way. I wish we did Romeo and Juliet, but that might be because there is so much fun in it! I better stop here before my love of the Act 1, Scene 1 fight between the house of Capulet and the house of Montague take over this post.

The Tempest

Again with Beowulf, I had already reviewed this text before. Actually several times, ever since Grade 10. Our curriculum had some accidental repeats in terms of literature… This and Lord of the Flies became so overrated by the end of high school.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though. I can see why this text was included in Arts One B. It has some pretty infamous monsters; Caliban in particular. In a more modern take, Caliban can be viewed as one to have empathy with; a victim of circumstance. His island is taken right from underneath him! I’d be pretty upset too. I think one of the most important things to note about this text though, and unfortunately we most likely won’t discuss it, is the send off; the monologue by Prospero at the end of the play which symbolizes Shakespeare’s departure from the theatre world.

In a way, Shakespeare uses Prospero to inspire others to live to his legacy. It would have been a tear jerker for avid Shakespeare followers of the time, and even for some today. A wonderful aside.

One of the most intriguing things I found in The Tempest was the symbol that the game of chess had in the narrative. Prospero’s reveal of Miranda and Ferdinand playing the game signifies Prospero’s victory of Alonso; pretty much forcibly marrying Ferdinand to his own   daughter.

Also… do yourself a favor and do not watch the latest interpretation of the movie… the one with Russell Brand. It is ever so weak, extremely dragged out, and Prospero is played by a female (Helen Mirren)…. not that there is something wrong with that…. well actually there is, she doesn’t play the role admirably at all. The only benefactor out of that film was the pretty good continuity and the make up for Caliban and Trincolo. I never thought Russell Brand could get any creepier but alas I have been proven wrong.

Come to think of it I don’t think I have ever seen a faithful movie adaption of any of Shakespeare’s works….

The Tempest

Okay, first things first… I hate Shakespeare… With a passion. He’s so overdone, so pretentious, with plots stolen for nearly all his works, and a boring predictability for all his plays, and I simply cannot stand the man’s work.

That being said, The Tempest less than thrilled me. However, I was fascinated by the concept of reality versus a dream. The whole play contained a very dream-like, fantasized nature. The allusions to mythical faeries and beasts, as well as the actual magic performed by Prospero create an airy, dreamy image. This idea of false realities does not end with a literal dream-like state, but continues when Prospero mentions this idea as well, whereupon he realizes that he has in turn become lost in the state of things, losing sight of what really matters. He states that, “… our little life is rounded with a sleep,” (4.1, ll 157-58). This portrays humanity as living within this idealized, dreamy world, blocking ourselves away from the hardships and important aspects of life, that is, until they jolt us from this sleep and thrust us into reality. The whole work delves into this idea of whether or not our reality is merely a dream. The drunkenness of the men also portrays this idea, as intoxication, especially with this seemingly enchanted drink, allows us to live in a world without the norms of reality. Their drunkenness takes them farther into the already dream-like state of the island, believing butlers to be kings. In a way, we are always in this state of drunkenness, as we are unable to perceive the true nature of man or life, believing evil to be good, and vice versa.

The idea of deception was also very prominent. Wherever one turns, someone always finds himself in the thick of visual deceit. Be it the invisibility of Ariel, lying to and deceiving Stephano, Caliban, and Trunuculo, or the masques Ariel wears to disguise himself as Ceres, someone is constantly being lied to. This whole deception thing sort of ties in with that fantasy element as well, in that we don’t actually know if our reality is the truth or merely a distorted image of it.

So, after suffering through this play, I finally reached the most dissatisfying end of any work I have ever read. Instead of actually exacting revenge, or doing something significant, such as in other Shakespearean plays, Prospero just decides to FORGIVE everyone??? After he’s been stuck on this god-forsaken island for twelve years, Antonio has stolen his dukedom and the King of Naples helped him out, and he just brushes it aside? So I just forced myself to read this play, just to find out that at the end everything is marvelous????? Normally, I don’t condone violence, but if I’m going to sit through a Shakespeare play, I expect something meaningful to happen that will leave an impression on my mind. All in all,  The Tempest furthered my disdain…

Tempest, on Monsters, Heroes and what is known and not.

Shakespeare’s tempest is a generally happy play.  There are some dark moments, highlighted by monstrous figures, but the play maintains an overall feel of comedy and lightheartedness.  The characters, Prospero, Ariel and Caliban are of most interest to me as their contrasting differences and interactions make for very interesting reading.

Prospero, is a good man, but similar to Odysseus, he is a bit of a trickster and can be quite cunning.  After all, he uses his magic to ground his brother onto his island and scatter them (though I admit, he did have good reason).  His conversation on servitude with Ariel at the beginning also shows that he can be very firm on some topics and is not afraid of using veiled threats or manipulating feelings of debt.  There are many times, when I think his cunning and magic are used very well.  Such as when he is spying on his daughter… which is a breach of the modern definition of privacy, but I interpreted it as necessary to see if his daughter was in danger.  Prospero has a good and an ugly side to him as well.  He punishes Caliban frequently to keep him in line.  Importantly though, most of this is justified as Caliban is definitely not an innocent creature, but I’ll get to that later.  At the same time, Prospero tends to be kind and forgiving.  He lets his daughter have the man she wants (something unheard of at Shakespeare’s time) and he does spare his brother.  The character that he may be most similar to is Joseph from Genesis, both essentially good characters, with some flaws and a bit of a nasty side.

Caliban… as I mentioned before, he’s not innocent, but he’s not exactly a scary monster.  He is most certainly a monster that should be looked down upon as he tries to violate Prospero’s daughter Miranda against her will, whose a very innocent girl that makes the audience look down upon Caliban even more.  At the same time, Caliban can articulate himself… to a degree unlike Grendel whose monstrosity comes from his lack of ability to communicate.  Caliban’s ability to communicate, makes him look more monstrous, because not only does he try to defend himself against Prospero’s valid accusations, it makes us able to get a better picture of his maliciousness.  But for a monster whose mind is so evil… he’s comedically pathetic and there is a sense of pity for him, not a lot, but there is.  His attempts, rather malicious attempts to oust Prospero   turn to nothing because he can’t get the right people to help him.  Also, Prospero’s killing of his mother does evoke some pity, for he’s essentially lost all that he could cal his identity.  How Shakespeare was able to turn such an evil minded creature into such a comedic character… is beyond my comprehension.

Ariel, is by the far the most interesting character of this play.  He’s not human… not monstrous… but he’s not exactly well… good.  Extraordinarily mischievous, yet mostly loyal at the same time, Prospero’s description of him as a spirit, is the most accurate.  He’s unknown, a lot like Grendel, but what we do know of him and his affiliation to Prospero makes us like him more than Caliban who we know more about, making the Tempest definition of monster different from Grendel and Grendel’s mother.

That’s all for now.


The Tempest

This play is, apparently, one of Shakespeare’s two original works, all his other plays being either derivatives or blatant knock-offs of other peoples’ stories. In any case, it is apparent that the man came into this with a rather large amount of sentimentality, considering that it was also the last play he would write (or write entirely by himself). Why is it apparent? Because he quite literally takes possession of Prospero at least once (twice, if I remember correctly) and goes on monologues about things of which it is obvious that Shakespeare himself is the speaker (Ferdinand and Miranda just thought he was going crazy). When Prospero talked about the “Great Globe,” he was referring to the Elizabethan theater that Shakespeare’s plays were performed in. When he went into his concluding monologue of which the line “we are such stuff as dreams are made on” was used, he was referring to the end of the play as a play with actors and props and lighting and all that. He structured the play itself to be conveyed almost like a dream, and the end of that dream marked, I believe, somewhat of an end to his career, for although The Tempest wasn’t his last play, it was, again, the last one that he wrote alone. The guy probably teared up a bit (or a lot) upon finishing this play, and who can blame him. What’s interesting to note about the play itself, then, is that it does, in fact, have a happy ending. This would, normally, classify it as a comedy, but where the strangeness comes in is that it possesses qualities that are quite unlike comedies. It is, therefore, a tragicomedy, which to me is just a wishy-washy way of saying that it could’ve ended either way. Now to clarify, I’m no expert on the subject (just a proficient user of google), but when you think about it, this melodramatic happy-go-lucky ending could easily have transformed into a rather unpleasant tragedy. Ariel could have decided to defy Prospero because he/she was sick of his abuse, thereby allowing Antonio and Sebastian to kill Alonso and Gonzalo. Stephano and Trinculo could have been not so utterly stupid, allowing Caliban to lead them to ambush Prospero (who forgot about them during the banquet). Prospero could have dropped his forgiveness thing and just executed Antonio and Sebastian (like many vengeful Shakespearian protagonists before him). Finally (and this was actually falsely foreshadowed), Ferdinand and Miranda could have, rather than playing chess like intelligent people, given in to passion and copulated before marriage (like a certain pair of lovers), thereby inflicting upon themselves Prospero’s curse. Heck, if I was writing this and wanted to make the most sickening tragic possible (which I don’t, if you’re wondering), I would have spun it so that Caliban actually did rape Miranda, and she was just hiding it from her father. That would have added a whole new batch of psychological trauma to the mix, which would then affect both Caliban’s attitude and Miranda’s, especially when she was with Ferdinand. My point is, then, that any one of these things could have broken the happy ending, and yet none of them happened—everything went perfectly. This makes me consider exactly what Shakespeare was trying to say in writing this, and whether or not the phrase “we are such stuff as dreams are made on” is really hinting at something. 

The Tempest

Out of all the plays Shakespeare wrote, I’ve only read A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet and King Lear. These plays and a handful of his sonnets. The most recent of his play that I’ve read would be The Tempest. This play is probably the most boring of all the Shakespearian plays that I’ve been fortunate enough to read. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite a fan of Shakespeare and almost everything he wrote is beyond amazing. It’s just that having read his other plays (listed above), I expected more action to take place. The Tempest doesn’t have a lot of action. Pretty much the whole play is about Prospero and his daughter Miranda stuck on an island. Add a whole bunch of talking, a creepy servant, an unrealistic romance between Miranda and Ferdinand that happens immediately after they meet, and a lot of forgiving.


What sets The Tempest apart from Shakespeare’s other plays is just that- forgiving. Forgiving and the happy ending. I’m more familiar with his tragedies, where almost everyone dies. King Lear was the last Shakespeare play I read in high school and it’s still fresh in my mind. It was also probably the saddest play, in my opinion. The Tempest did not once make tears spring into my eyes and at the end, everything is happy. Prospero forgives his brother Antonio for usurping his title, Miranda and Ferdinand are going to marry, and Propero’s servant, Ariel, is going to be set free. Nothing to feel upset over. This is what makes The Tempest different and un-special. It’s different because it’s so different from Shakespeare’s tragedies. It’s not special enough to stand out into my memory because I don’t see what there is to talk about in this play. I think I’m more of a fan of tragedies. I enjoyed reading Medea and Oedipus Rex, where there’s more depth and substance to have an interesting conversation. Maybe it’s because my literary tastes focus more on the dark and tragic.


Now, if there’s going to another genre talk, I’d classify this play as being under the “Shakespeare” genre. I think Shakespeare should his own little genre. Certainly he’s famous enough to have a genre named in his honour. What I mean by “Shakespeare” genre is when the characters all talk like Elizabethans and the play is meant to be read for pleasure (I mean, Shakespeare wrote his plays for the theatre and for the queen to watch!), and for the purpose of illuminating oneself on human beings. There’s something very human about Shakespeare’s plays.  There’s also something very modern and teenage-y about Hamlet when he complains about how it’s his job to avenge his father, who died because his uncle poured poison into his ear. When the reader actually reads Shakespeare, it’s also like holding up a mirror and seeing oneself in it, in a way.

The Tempest

The Tempest is a play that I’ve read before and it was interesting to have to read it for a second time since I already knew the storyline and was therefore merely refreshing my memory about the exact characters and lines. The Tempest is one of my favorite Shakespearean plays because its quite straightforward at first sight but then as you read on certain things just appear to pop out which before were not so visible before. The Tempest as a title is interesting because it means a violent or strong storm involving wind and rain and this play appears to have taken place long after the tempest has settled down and the time during which the people are trying to rebuild their lives and find their places once again in the aftermath of the Tempest (or in this case the betrayal and exile of Prospero). Prospero is not taking his chance at bringing together all those that had wronged him and making everything as it should be since he is of course the rightful Duke of Milan and his daughter, a Princess. The Tempest I believe is not about a real Tempest but the aftermath and the rebuilding of lives.

One line which always strikes me in the play is when Miranda says “O brave new world That has such people in’t” and this has always reminded my of the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and this makes what she says all the more interesting because the people he is overawed to see are in fact the same people who had committed crimes against her and her father (or in the case of Stephano and Trinculo people who were planning to commit crimes against her father) and it is what I always think about especially since to John in the novel these people are wondrous and fascinating and eventually they do end up hurting him in some way. Another important fact was that Aldous Huxley quoted Shakespeare many times throughout the novel making the connection all the more emphasized. For Miranda this is a brave new world and yet an old and cruel world at the same time.

The Tempest: Happy Endings and Monsters

Just finished the Tempest and have to say it’s quite a breath of fresh air. This is my first time reading a Shakespearean play that doesn’t end with complete tragedy. And boy does this story really serve as a direct contrast. No one dies, new love springs, traitors are forgiven, and everyone lives happily ever after. After reading the last nine texts of the course, I forgot these kinds of stories existed.

The thing that immediately struck me at the play’s conclusion is that Prospero is in every way a modern protagonist. Not to embellish him too sharply, he maintains some flaws, but overall his actions redeem his worst traits. He’s a loving and devoted father, who sacrifices his own grievances to allow his daughter to find love. He’s christ-like in his ability to forgive his rivals. Even after Alonso and Antonio selfishly stole his throne, he openly forgives them and reconciles without any desire for bloody vengeance. Imagine Medea or Odysseus being able to accomplish such a feat. Could they even imagine redemption without the spilling of blood? Furthermore Prospero’s is noble in keeping his promises by freeing Ariel at the play’s conclusion and allows Caliban to remain in his household even though he blatantly plotted his murder.

Caliban is another distinct monster within our course. He-like Grendel, embodies a monster’s complexion, but is also tainted with an evil nature because of his heritage. Shakespeare must of invested his belief into nature over nurture. Although Prospero does everything in his power to educate and nurse Caliban into a noble character, he cannot tame his wicked traits. Like Grendel he was simply born a monstrosity. Although he is portrayed as mainly wimpy and harmless as comic relief, he is immediately demonstrated as a beast for attempting to rape Prospero’s daughter. It’s never clear exactly what his reasoning behind betraying his master is, but it is evident that there is clear tension between both the servant and lord. Caliban believes that he held some title  to the island due to the inheritance of his witch mother.  Caliban curses his lord for ever giving him the gift of speech because all he can vocalize is his misery. Although Prospero treats him rather poorly, he is somewhat deserving. He’s an unfaithful servant who attempts to murder his master, defile his daughter and disobey him at every order. If he had perhaps attempted to win his masters merit like Propsero’s other servant, Ariel, maybe Prosperos generosity would have shined on him too. All in all at first glance Caliban embodies what a monster really is, but I’m sure he’ll find his sympathizers.