Until I read this book I didn't really understand what The Tempest was about, but Matt Simpson has made sense of it all for me. He explains elegantly his interpretation of the meanings of the play and the role of each of Shakespeare's characters within it. He has a most impressive knowledge of the contemporary literature, culture, history etc. and great insight into the thinking of the time (philosophical, sociological, religious, folkloric). He makes excellent use of it all, with a very wide range of absolutely fascinating facts and cross-references, to unravel the complexities of the play. His style is easy and reader-friendly and he shows that great erudition need not be dull and academic but can actually be a 'good read'. There's quite a lot too about what other commentators have said about the play, which is very useful. If you find Shakespeare 'hard' (as I do!) and would like some serious but sympathetic help, I recommend this book.