The Tempest

Revision as of 13:21, 21 July 2014 by SophieByvik (talk | contribs)

This article is about Shakespeare's play. For other uses, see The Tempest (disambiguation).

Putting romance onstage, The Tempest, one of William Shakespeare's plays, gives us a magician, Prospero, a former duke of Milan who was displaced by his treacherous brother, Antonio. Prospero is exiled on an island, where his only companions are his daughter, Miranda, the spirit Ariel, and the monster Caliban. When his enemies are among those caught in a storm near the island, Prospero turns his power upon them through Ariel and other spirits.

The characters exceed the roles of villains and heroes. Prospero seems heroic, yet he enslaves Caliban and has an appetite for revenge. Caliban seems to be a monster for attacking Miranda, but appears heroic in resisting Prospero, evoking the period of colonialism during which the play was written. Miranda's engagement to Ferdinand, the Prince of Naples and a member of the shipwrecked party, helps resolve the drama.

The Tempest is thought to have been written in 1610–11; it was performed at court on November 1, 1611. It appears in the 1623 First Folio. Sources include an account of Sir Thomas Gates’s shipwreck, Silvester Jourdain’s A Discovery of the Barmudas, the True Declaration of the Estate of the Colonie in Virginia, and other sources Shakespeare often used for his plays.[1]

Productions at the Folger

Helen Hayes Awards
Wins: "Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Play or Musical" for Scott Burgess, and "Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Play or Musical" for Dan Covey

Early editions

First Folio

LUNA: First Folio: A1r - B4r
Hamnet: STC 22273 Fo. 1 no. 68

Second Folio

LUNA: Second Folio: A1r - B4r
Hamnet: STC 22274 Fo. 2 no. 07

Modern editions

Tempest Folger Edition.jpg

The Tempest can be read online with Folger Digital Texts and purchased from Simon and Schuster.

Hamnet link to Folger Edition: PR2753 .M6 2003 copy 2 v.31

In popular culture


Performance materials

Other media



  1. Adapted from the Folger Library Shakespeare edition, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. © 1994 Folger Shakespeare Library.