For twelve years, Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, has been living on a remote, uninhabited Mediterranean Island with only his daughter, Miranda (a young girl who has grown up seeing no other human being but her father), Caliban (the son of the island’s former ruler, a witch named Sycorax), and Ariel (an “airy spirit” who has served as Prospero’s servant). Prospero has learned the magical arts through deep meditative study, and uses his supernatural powers to exert his authority and influence events. At the play’s beginning, he causes a tempest to overtake the surrounding waters, shipwrecking the enemies responsible for his exile. The boat’s passengers are scattered, and the state of the island is thrown into chaos as murder plots, drunken foolery, and love-at-first-sight become the order of the day. Eventually, Prospero settles the disorder as peace is recovered and plans to return to Milan are put into motion. In what is thought by many to be Shakespeare’s final play and an ode to aging, themes and motifs that the writer has reflected upon throughout his career are beautifully echoed, while, using Prospero as a mouthpiece, William Shakespeare himself bids us a final adieu. After all, Prospero notes, “... We are such stuff / As dreams are made on, and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep…” (IV. i).
Includes mature adult, early teen, late teen, young adult, adult characters
- Guide written by
- Danielle Frimer