The Tempest

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Prospero and Ariel from a painting by William Hamilton

The Tempest is one of William Shakespeare's last comedies. The story is set on an enchanted island where a magician called Prospero and his daughter live.

They are on this deserted island because of his brother, Antonio, and the King of Naples, Alonso. Prospero takes revenge and with all his magic he makes the King and his brother with other characters come to the island. Many events take place on the island but everyone feels guilty and sorry for their actions. In the end they head back to Milan, Italy, thanks to Prospero's spirit, Ariel. Ariel is a spirit who used to be a slave of Sycorax, an evil witch.

Main characters[change | change source]

  • Alonso, King of Naples
  • Sebastian, his brother
  • Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, who is a magician
  • Antonio, Prospero's brother, the usurping Duke of Milan
  • Ferdinand, son to the King of Naples
  • Gonzalo, an honest old councillor
  • Adrian and Francisco, lords
  • Caliban, a savage and deformed slave and the rightful owner of the island
  • Sycorax (unseen), a deceased sorceress and mother of Caliban, who was banished to the island before Prospero arrived and enslaved the spirits on the island, including Ariel.

Prospero sets up Ferdinand and Miranda and they fall in love.

Parallels with Forbidden Planet[change | change source]

The 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet set the story on a planet in space, Altair IV, instead of an island.

Professor Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis) are the Prospero and Miranda figures (both Prospero and Morbius having harnessed the mighty forces that inhabit their new homes). Ariel is represented by the helpful Robbie the Robot, while Sycorax is replaced with the powerful race of the Krell. Caliban is represented by the dangerous and invisible "monster from the id", a projection of Morbius' psyche born from the Krell technology instead of Sycorax's womb.[1]

Other websites[change | change source]

The "tempest" - a word meaning "storm" - is in the first scene of the play, and wrecks a ship.
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References[change | change source]

  1. Vaughan, Virginia Mason & Vaughan, Alden T. 1999. The Tempest. The Arden Shakespeare. ISBN 978-1-903436-08-0