The Tempest is a play about the rightful Duke of Milan, Prospero, who is overthrown by his deceitful brother, Antonio. He then leaves Milan with his daughter, Miranda, to live upon a deserted island. During his stay there, he becomes a skilled sorcerer. One day, his brother, Alonso (the King of Naples), Sebastian (the King of Naples’ brother), and Ferdinand (his son) are sailing upon a ship not far from their shore.
Prospero, seeing them, raises a great tempest, and forces everyone to jump the ship, and creating an illusion that the ship has sank. Miranda seeing the ship “split” runs to Prospero, who explains everything that happened and why he “sank the ship.” He then puts her into a deep sleep and calls Ariel his spirit who reports that all of the nobles had made it on the island safely.
Ariel then sings a song scaring Ferdinand right into Prospero’s and Miranda’s path. Ferdinand and Miranda immediately fall in love, and while Prospero approves, he pretends to be against it. On the otherside of the island, Alonso, Sebastian, and Antonio are looking for Ferdinand.
Miranda meets Ferdinand once again, this time while he’s hauling logs for her Father and they exchange their love for another and vow to marry. The others still wandering are brought a table of food by Ariel and other spirits, only to have it taken away and then be told that their evilness toward Prospero is the reason why they suffer.
At Prospero’s cave, he gives Miranda to Ferdinand, but instructs him to leave her a virgin until they’re properly married. He celebrates by showing them the spirits Iris, Ceres, and Juno. He then brings the rest of the nobles to his cave and reveals himself. He forgives them all and tells them that Ferdinand is safe with Miranda. Alonso restores Prospero’s title and vows to take them all back to Italy.
The Tempest was written by William at age forty-seven, in 1611 after retiring from theater work only a year before. It is believed to be his last completed play and some say he received inspiration for it from a news article of a vessel that wreaked on the island of Bermuda. They play is typical, yet strange and unusual for Shakespeare. It’s a play that promotes the ideal that “crime doesn’t pay.” Or atleast, in this one it didn’t.
William Shakespeare was an immensely talented actor and inspiration writer. He managed to procure a Coat of Arms for his Father which gave him the opportunity to use the title of a gentleman. Making him seem less a vagabond and more of an aristocrat. He was also a member of the acting troupe, The Friday Night Club, or The Mermaid Club, formed by Sir Walter Raleigh. When the new ruler of England, King James the First, brough great benefits to the company, they changed their name to, “The King’s Men.”
At the time of his death at age fifty-two, he had written thirty-six plays, one-hundred and fifty-four sonnets, and two narrative poems leaving an enduring legacy of classic literature in his wake. And as a documentation of a bygone era, his work helps society today to understand what life was like in the days before cars, Nike, video games, and even the light bulb. Possibly someday member of Generation “Y” will be able to grasp how influential this man was in history.