44 votes

How did Shakespeare get away with staging witchcraft in his plays such as Othello, Macbeth, or The Tempest?

The public saw the plays were fiction, perhaps even a warning against witchcraft, and the magic in them is divorced of religious overtones. It is noteworthy that the two Shakespeare plays which deal ...
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10 votes

Which of these sources is right about "The Tempest"?

Shakespeare wrote his works in a variety of English known as Early Modern English. At that time, English spelling had not yet been standardised and plays were not highly regarded as a form of ...
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  • 38.5k
7 votes
Accepted

Origin of symbolic interpretation of Prospero's breaking of his staff?

Whodunit? tl;dr Edward Dowden (1875). Equating Prospero with Shakespeare, and vice-versa The specific equation of Prospero's breaking his staff with Shakespeare's renouncing his art is part of a ...
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  • 15.3k
7 votes

When was Shakespeare's The Tempest first analysed from a "post-colonial" perspective?

The oldest postcolonial reading of The Tempest that I am aware of was published by Octave Mannoni (1899-1989; the French Wikipedia article about Mannoni is a bit longer). Mannoni was a Frenchman who ...
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  • 38.5k
7 votes

Where did Edmond Malone place the Tempest in the chronology of Shakespeare's plays?

"An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in which the Plays Attributed to Shakespeare Were Written" can be found on pages 269 - 346 of the first volume of The Plays of William Shakespeare in Ten ...
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6 votes

Which of these sources is right about "The Tempest"?

There is no consensus on who is right. The punctuation placement, the spelling - editors disagree on all of these points. First, I should give a note on why the punctuation would change. At the time ...
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5 votes

How can we reconcile the bareness of Shakespearean stages with the complex stage directions of The Tempest?

The bareness of the stage in The Globe and other theatre venues used by the Lord Chamberlain's Men and the King's Men should not be taken to imply that there weren't any other elements of stagecraft. ...
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3 votes

Is Caliban of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" based on a real life character?

TL;DR: Shakespeare must have got the name “Setebos” for Caliban’s god from Antonio Pigafetta via Richard Willes’ The History of Travel in the West and East Indies (1577), but Bergreen’s claim that the ...
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  • 40.1k
3 votes

In Margeret Atwood's "Hag-Seed," where is Caliban?

I think, just as you said, the book's very title is a reference to Caliban, suggesting that he should be central to the story. I agree. Caliban in the context of colonialism represents the undesired ...
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2 votes

The Unity of Action in Shakespeare's "The Tempest"

TL;DR: The Tempest does not respect Aristotle’s unity of action, but to discover this you need to read Aristotle, and even literary critics sometimes neglect primary sources. Aristotle The unity of ...
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2 votes

Why was Miranda prohibited from telling her name to Ferdinand in "The Tempest"?

Prospero forbids Miranda from telling Ferdinand her name for two reasons: To keep Miranda's identity and his own secret so that his plan is not revealed prematurely. To strengthen Ferdinand and ...
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  • 15.3k
1 vote

What was the relation between Stephano and Trinculo?

Stephano is the butler to King Alonso: Alonso recognises him as such in Act V Scene 1 of the play: ALONSO:     Is not this Stephano, my drunken butler? SEBASTIAN: He is drunk now: where had he wine? ...
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  • 63.5k
1 vote

Is Caliban of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" based on a real life character?

The Tempest is one of a small number of Shakespeare plays for which there is no obvious source for the plot. (The others are A Midsummer Night's Dream and Love's Labour's Lost.) When discussing ...
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