The Tempest

Front Cover
Wordsworth Editions, 1994 - Drama - 128 pages
3 Reviews

Edited, introduced and annotated by Cedric Watts, Research Professor of English, University of Sussex.

The Wordsworth Classics' Shakespeare's Series presents a newly-edited sequence of William Shakespeare's works. The textual editing takes account of recent scholarship while giving the material a careful reappraisal.

The Tempest is the most lyrical, profound and fascinating of Shakespeare's late comedies. Prospero, long exiled from Italy with his daughter Miranda, seeks to use his magical powers to defeat his former enemies. Eventually, having proved merciful, he divests himself of that magic, his ‘art’, and prepares to return to the mainland. The Tempest has often been regarded as Shakespeare's ‘farewell to the stage’ before his retirement.

In the past, critics emphasised the romantically beautiful features of The Tempest, seeing it as an imaginative fantasia. In recent decades, however, The Tempest has also been treated as a potently political drama which offers controversial insights into colonialism and racism. Frequently staged and diversely filmed, the play has influenced numerous poets and novelists.

 

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Review: The Tempest

User Review  - Helena - Goodreads

Good, not great. I enjoy Shakespeare's writing, plots & characters always, but I've liked some of his other works more. Read full review

Review: The Tempest

User Review  - Hankrose - Goodreads

While not known for it's verisimilitude, this play is deceptive, there is a lot of symbolism and things going on that might not be the first thing you notice. It sends one thinking, is Prospero good ... Read full review

Contents

General Introduction
7
Further Reading
23
Notes on The Tempest
97
Glossary
117
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

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