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The Tempest

William Shakespeare


Key Facts

Key Facts

full title  ·  The Tempest

author · William Shakespeare

type of work · Play

genre · Romance

language · Elizabethan English

time and place written ·  1610–1611; England

date of first publication ·  1623

publisher · Isaac Jaggard and Edward Blount

tone · Dreamy, mysterious, magical

setting (time) · The Renaissance

setting (place) · An island in the Mediterranean sea, probably off the coast of Italy

protagonist · Prospero

major conflict · Prospero, the duke of Milan and a powerful magician, was banished from Italy and cast to sea by his usurping brother, Antonio, and Alonso, the king of Naples. As the play begins, Antonio and Alonso come under Prospero’s magic power as they sail past his island. Prospero seeks to use his magic to make these lords repent and restore him to his rightful place.

rising action · Prospero creates the tempest, causing his enemies’ ship to wreck and its passengers to be dispersed about the island.

climax · Alonso and his party stop to rest, and Prospero causes a banquet to be set out before them. Just as they are about to eat, Ariel appears in the shape of a harpy and accuses them of their treachery against Prospero. Alonso is overwhelmed with remorse.

falling action · Prospero brings Alonso and the others before him and forgives them. Prospero invites Alonso and his company to stay the night before everyone returns to Italy the next day, where Prospero will reassume his dukedom.

themes · The illusion of justice, the difficulty of distinguishing “men” from “monsters,” the allure of ruling a colony

motifs · Masters and servants, water and drowning, mysterious noises

symbols · The tempest, the game of chess, Prospero’s books

foreshadowing · Prospero frequently hints at his plans to bring his enemies before him and to confront them for their treachery. Prospero also hints at his plans to relinquish his magic once he has confronted and forgiven his enemies.

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by SonnetBlossom, July 16, 2013

Gonzalo also mentions that he thinks that the Boatswain is the type of person who looks like he would die by a hanging and not by drowning.He could be suggesting that the boat would not capsize,because otherwise the boatswain would die.


11 out of 16 people found this helpful

Alonso,Gonzalo and Sebastian

by SonnetBlossom, July 16, 2013

"My Lord Sebastian,
The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness,
And time to speak it in.You rub the sore
When you should bring the plaster"

In these words,Gonzalo is criticizing what Sebastian has told Alonso.In these lines,Alonso's heart is the sore,made by the loss of his son.Gonzalo says that Sebastian is "rubbing the sore" meaning that Sebastian isn't helping Alonso overcome his loss.The "plaster" is the kind,compassionate and encouraging words spoken by Gonzalo and time needed to mend Alonso's bleeding heart.... Read more


107 out of 132 people found this helpful


by SonnetBlossom, July 16, 2013

The minor character's story runs parallel to the main plot.The minor characters are used by Shakespeare to create humour and lighten the seriousness of the main plot.While Antonio and Sebastian were very serious and sober in plotting Alonso's and Gonzalo's death.The minor characters plan to kill Prospero when they are drunk.


20 out of 34 people found this helpful

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The Tempest (No Fear Shakespeare)