We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Tempest

"... Hell is empty,
And all the devils are here." Act 1 Scene 2


Title: The Tempest

Author: William Shakespeare

Pages: 97 (my edition - the actual pages of play) but 112 pages overall

Publisher: Penguin Books (my edition)

Source: own

The Synopsis

I wanted to be clever and give a line to summarise each scene of The Tempest - but then the synopsis was just a bit too shallow. So to make Shakespeare sound a bit more fun I am going to try and give a short, but concise synopsis of my own. So here it goes,

There is a storm - the very Tempest after which the play is named. But this storm was not natural - it was summoned by a man who wanted revenge. Revenge not only for himself, but to advantage his daughter and get her back to the society in which she belongs.

Well I think that that is inticing enough, without giving too much away?


The Review

This was my first Shakespeare in a very long time - I have not read the Bard since reading Romeo and Juliet last year. I remember seeing it on tv when they had this whole animated Shakespeare going. You have got to love the BBC for creating these things - if only South Africa would show more BBC things!

I would not say that The Tempest is my favourite Shakespeare play - but it does carry across a very clear message or theme. For me it was the lengths that people will go to to deceive others to get things to go their way.

The deceptive nature of man and his trickery was for me the central theme of this play - the way that Prospero uses Ariel and abuses Caliban. Treating Ferdinand as though he hasn't the faintest idea who he is.

What was most interesting for me was the use of Roman references - Jove, Dido, Iris - we really see how influenced Shakespeare was by Roman Mythology - this would have been because he would have studied Ovid whilst at school. I really do wish I had read this before that time I had to do an essay on the influence of Ovid on Shakespeare.

So this was my only Shakespeare for Shakespeare Reading Month - which makes my attempt an epic fail. I just hope that I'll be reading more of Shakespeare as the year progresses.

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