on 22 January 2013
I bought the Kindle version of this great play to facilitate reading out loud in a group. But the erratic pagination, with the text suddenly broken by blocks of footnotes, often in the middle of a sentence, made me give up and return gratefully to a properly printed edition - albeit one with a much smaller typeface.
It is also extraordinary that the Acts and Scenes are not individually indexed in the table of contents. The whole play has but a single heading! To find your place you have to page through the whole text, or search for a key phrase. To have set this up properly would have meant but an hour or so of editing work. Not to have done so takes away one of the main benefits of an electronic version.
Similarly, the footnotes could surely have been better placed all together at the end with live links from the text. The way they are done at the moment is simply infuriating.
The impression I am getting is that Kindle editions are sometimes created carelessly by people who have no love of the text or concern about presentation. Or even, extraordinarily, awareness of the potential of the new medium.
Frankly, this was a complete waste of the admittedly modest amount of money it cost.
on 1 March 2009
Shakespeare with a good set of footnotes to explain anything thats difficult to understand, short explanations as to any references. All of which is easily ignored if you dont want/need it. Definately usable as a basic Shakespeare text (perfect for GCSE or A Level) or usable for English at Degree level with a really useful introduction and the articles at the back are perfect for Literature.
I strongly recommend this version of the text for anybody studying The Tempest.
I recently went to see Patrick Stewart in an RSC production of The Tempest and thought I would buy a copy of the play to look again at some of the speeches. Although I'm a little way past GCSE level I found this Cambridge School edition provided clear presentation of the text, with the play displayed down the right hand side and study notes opposite.
However, the book's real selling point is the inclusion of wonderful colour and black and white photographs of various productions of The Tempest. Several of these are from The Globe Theatre, London so provide a glimpse of what Elizabethan theatre (probably) looked like.
On the downside, some of the further study suggestions are a little simple-minded ("Draw a theatre poster advertising The Tempest featuring Ariel") but overall this is an attractively-presented guide which implicitly steers students towards the idea that Shakespeare's plays were meant to be seen and heard rather than read.
on 29 September 2013
Assuming most people will be buying this text due to it being on a reading list at school/college/ university, I will review on that perspective. I needed this text for my university course and priced at £1.99 this is a bargain. It suited my needs well and while it lacks academic notes on the text this was not a problem - there is enough material out there on 'The Tempest', and as wide reading is required for my course anyway, it did not matter. So if you are a university student (or school/college student) and need this text I highly recommend this version.
As for the play itself, it is one of Shakespeare's most famous works, and very interesting to study or read for pleasure, particularly when you read into what influenced the play. It is defined as a Shakespearean comedy, and while it may not be as entertaining as Midsummers nights dream, it's still worth a look.
on 22 May 2016
My version of this from this company didn't come- I ordered it but they sent me a different book. I emailed them to remedy this but nothing was done- in short don't buy from this company!!!! As for the actual story though I will say this: My mum bought me a secondhand version of this classic play so I could use it for my A2 level exam in college. I had to read it for that exam, but while I was only mildly intrigued at first, I found that I did actually enjoy it. There are many themes explored and while there are some fantastical characters, (for example: Ariel the spirit) there are some very human themes and characteristics that make the play powerful and relatable. As a classic Shakespeare play, and his last as far as we know, it is easy to compare the character of Prospero to Shakespeare himself, especially in the last scene. The key themes deal with: usurpation, loss, power, love, knowledge, magic and treachery among others. There are many ways to read this play and many ways to relate to it. Honestly, I found the female character, Miranda to be headstrong and a typical renaissance daughter- which made her whiny and constantly bowing to the man's will. She is also very naive and infuriating when it comes to her love for Ferdinand.
My favourite characters were Prospero and Ariel- Ariel being sweet and challenging Prospero to think about his morality and humanity and doing as he is told, having been saved by Prospero so owing him something in return- servitude. Prospero is a god-like figure, manipulating fate of those he wishes to exact revenge upon. The ending to the play is touching and may leave one with a renewed faith in human nature, though some may disagree and say it is a bit of a cop-out.
As for reading level, I would say this is a pretty hard read if you get it in the original Early Modern English version as, if you aren't used to it, it can be pretty difficult to understand. However if you get it in the Late Modern English version, it will be easier- but nowhere near as beautiful or poetic.
The main thing I took from this play is tempering every choice I make with morality, as wild justice is for those who wish to harm others but only end up injuring themselves.
It really makes you think about what is important and how life is- is it pre-ordained? Are out actions being controlled? Or do we truly have free-will (for lack of better terms)?
The structure is easy to follow as it all happens in one base setting- on an island- and happens within a few short hours. There are only five scenes, so it is not a particularly long play, which makes it a nice one to introduce you to the world of Shakespearian literature, should you be so inclined to explore it.
Would reccommend to boost reading skills, broaden your horizons on the classics and even if you don't need to read it as part of an English syllabus, for the touching, lyrical moments that will make you question humanity.
on 12 March 2016
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, written between 1610–11. It is thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone. The sorcerer Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan and his daughter Miranda are stranded on an island with the deformed Caliban. A second shipwreck brings ashore the man of Miranda’s dreams. Prospero plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place. He uses illusion and skilful manipulation to conjure up a storm, the eponymous tempest. He does this to lure his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples to the island. There, his scheming brings about the revelation of Antonio's lowly nature. It also redeems the King, and the brings about the marriage of Miranda to Alonso's son, Ferdinand.
The story draws on the tradition of the romance. This is a fictitious narrative set far away from ordinary life. Romances use themes such as the supernatural, wandering, exploration and discovery. They were often set in coastal regions, and featured exotic, fantastical locations. The also use themes of transgression and redemption, loss and retrieval, exile and reunion.
These are a few more themes I noticed when I watched and read the play.
The Illusion of Justice
The Tempest tells a straightforward story involving an unjust act. This is the usurpation of Prospero’s throne by his brother and his quest to restore himself to power. But, the idea of justice that the play works toward seems subjective. This idea represents the view of one character who controls the fate of all the other characters. Prospero’s idea of justice and injustice is somewhat hypocritical—though he is angry with his brother for taking his power, he has no qualms about enslaving Ariel and Caliban to achieve his ends. Because the play offers no notion of higher order or justice to supersede Prospero’s interpretation of events, the play is morally ambiguous.
By using magic and tricks that echo the special effects and spectacles of the theatre, Prospero persuades the other characters and the audience of the rightness of his case. As he does so, the ambiguities surrounding his methods resolve themselves. Prospero forgives his enemies, releases his slaves, and relinquishes his magic power, so that, at the end of the play, he is only an old man whose work has been responsible for all the audience’s pleasure. The establishment of Prospero’s idea of justice becomes less a commentary on justice in life than on the nature of morality in art.
Miranda and Prospero both have opposing views of Caliban’s humanity. They think that their education of him has lifted him from his brutish status. But they seem to see him as inherently brutish. His base nature can never be overcome by nurture. The play leaves the matter ambiguous. Caliban balances all his eloquent speeches, with degrading drunken, servile behaviour.
The uninhabited island presents the sense of possibility to almost everyone who lands there. Prospero has found it, in its isolation, an ideal place to school his daughter. Sycorax, Caliban’s mother, worked her magic. All these characters envision the island as a space of freedom and unrealized potential. Yet, while there are many representatives of the colonial impulse in the play, the colonized have only one representative: Caliban. We might develop sympathy for him at first, when Prospero seeks him out to abuse him. But this sympathy is made more difficult by his willingness to abase himself. Even as Caliban plots to kill one colonial master (Prospero) he sets up another (Stefano). The urge to rule and the urge to be ruled seem intertwined.
As for the book itself, at this price you can't go wrong, its a bargain. Supplement your reading by watching the play itself, then it'll all make much more sense.
on 25 June 2012
Personally, I think Arden are the best editions for anyone doing Shakespeare as a student or for leisure. They have far more notes than other editions which are very useful and help to gain context on the lifestyle of Renaissance England. It really made me enjoy reading The Tempest as it explains all archaic words at the bottom of the page rather than having to look them up in the back which can soon get monotonous. Overall I highly recommend Arden copies (as if you couldn't tell!)
on 20 November 2013
This is a brilliant edition of The Tempest, including the history of the play and its adaptations, complete with pictures. The actual script itself is superb - the play itself runs along one side of the page with various notes explaining the meanings of words and speeches, the way it should be delivered and on occasion the way the audience would have reacted. A brilliant version, essential for understanding The Tempest.
on 1 January 2014
Good read, not my favourite Shakespeare play. The critical essays at the intro and at the end are very useful for students, however the format of the book for kindle isn't great. Internal references are not linked, there are no internal bookmarks for each act or scene.
on 31 August 2012
The last, and in my opinion, the greatest of Shakespeare's plays. The story concerns a shipwreck whose survivors land on a mysterious island inhabited by Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan and his daughter Miranda. There is also a dark, savage, native character named Caliban. During the play Miranda utters the phrase "Oh brave new world that has such people in it", which inspired the title of Aldous Huxley's very popular book "Brave New World". The Tempest has also been drawn upon heavily during both the recent Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies. The attraction of the Arden edition of the play is that apart from the play itself it makes available a wealth of scholarly material relevant to its creation. For that reason I would love to have Arden editions of all of the plays.