The Royal Shakespeare Company offers a short-and-sweet history of important productions of The Tempest. Although brief, this article offers readers a sense of how the look, feel, and meaning of the play has transformed over the four hundred years since its premiere.
In this article, Professor Gordon McMullan uses a combination of descriptions and images to recreate a sense of what the opening night of The Tempest would have looked, felt, and sounded like to its London audience in 1610 (or 1611).
This essay provides a broad view of the massive changes in philosophy and science that were taking place during the period when Shakespeare wrote. Such a historical background gives the reader rich insight into the significance of Renaissance “sciences” like astrology and alchemy.
This History Channel documentary from 2002 offers a more focused introduction to the intrigue of the occult during the Renaissance. John Dee was famous in his time for his dabbling in alchemy and other occult arts. And in addition to serving as Queen Elizabeth’s advisor, he may also have served as a model for Prospero.
Jyotsna Singh’s article outlines the history of postcolonial responses to The Tempest, including both critical rereadings of the play as well as radical rewritings of it. Singh pays special attention to the Martinican poet Aimé Césaire’s 1969 play Une Tempête (“A Tempest”), which makes key revisions to Shakespeare’s plot to reflect the original play’s colonialist undertones.
This whimsical (and sometimes bizarre) animated adaptation of the play breezes by in a brief 26 minutes. Although it does not replicate the complexity of the original play, this adaptation proves useful as a distillation of the play’s major plot points. It’s also just fun to watch!