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The Tempest (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 May 1994

4.3 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; New edition edition (5 May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185326203X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853262036
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 0.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

One of Shakespeare's most famous but also enigmatic plays, for many years the story of Prospero's exile from his native Milan, and life with his daughter Miranda on an unnamed island in the Mediterranean, was seen as an autobiographical dramatisation of Shakespeare's departure from the London stage. The Epilogue, spoken by Prospero, claims that "now my charms are all o'erthrown", appeared to reflect Shakespeare's own renunciation of his magical dramatic powers as he retired to Stratford. But The Tempest is far more than this, as recent commentators have pointed out. The dramatic action observes the classical unities of time, place and action, as Prospero uses his "rough magic" to lure his wicked usurping brother, Antonio, and King Alonso of Naples to his island retreat to torment them before engineering his return to Milan.

However, the play is full of extraordinary anomalies and fantastic interludes, including Gonzalo's fantasy of a utopian commonwealth, Prospero's magical servant Ariel, and the "poisonous slave" Caliban. The creation of Caliban has particularly fascinated critics, who have noticed in his creation a colonial dimension to the play. In this respect Caliban can be seen as an American Indian or African slave, who articulates a particularly powerful strain of anti-colonial sentiment, telling Prospero that "this island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,/ Which thou tak'st from me". This has led to an intense reassessment of the play from a post-colonial perspective, as critics and historians have debated the extent to which the play endorses or criticises early English colonial expansion. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The best notes of any edition I've used. (Lewis Ward, Exeter University) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback
I keep finding myself writing this at the moment: this is a wonderful work, but do think twice before buying this edition of the play, as if you need something to study, you'll be left rather high and dry here.

The other reviewer on this page has some trouble getting their head around why people get so excited about "The Tempest", and cannot see a clear "story" as in "Romeo and Juliet". But then, that's partly the point: that is an early play, sticking closely to its models and offering relatively little to doubt or to trouble the viewer. "The Tempest" may or may not be Shakespeare's last play (it seems to be the last play he wrote alone; he did collaborate on some other plays), but it is certainly a late work, written at a time when he was so well versed in what the theatre could do, and in the dramatic forms it had to offer, he seems almost to have pushed the boundaries of drama to their absolute limits. One sees here, three plots (at least) running simultaneously, with one central character, each one exploring different issues, and each one employing different dramatic methods. If one were to want an overview of the theatre in England at the beginning of the sixteenth century, one could do a lot worse than starting here.

"The Tempest" may be an odd play as far as its narrative goes, but it is wonderful in its poetry. It contains many glorious passages, sometimes coming from the mouths of the most unlikely characters, and for that reason it is worth reading.

The only reason I've not awarded this book five stars, though, is because this edition is not suited to all readers. Many students will find this very frustrating because there are next to no explanatory notes, and the provision of glosses is niggardly. If you're studying the play in any depth, you may well find a Cambridge, Arden or Oxford edition suits you better. If you want a chance to read the play in a cheap, disposable edition, this will do you well.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
Many consider "The Tempest" to be the final play that Shakespeare wrote solo, which gives a certain bittersweet flavor to its story -- especially since the main character is a sorcerer who manipulates others to get the ending he desires. Shakespeare juggled a trio of main stories before tying them off in rare style, but it's Prospero and his final speech that are truly intriguing.

For many years, the exiled Duke of Milan Prospero has lived on a remote island with his young daughter Miranda. But when he discovers that his treacherous brother Antonio and his similarly treacherous friends are nearby on a sailing ship, he summons a storm that causes the ship to crash on the island.

And like a puppet-master, Prospero arranges this as he wants -- he sends his servant Ariel to haunt the men who betrayed him, he thwarts the machinations of his evil servant Caliban, and he pretends to treat Alonso's son Ferdinand badly while secretly matchmaking him with Miranda. In the end, everything will be as he desired.

"The Tempest" is a play with two different dimensions. On one hand, we have a simple story about a mage whose power allows him to manipulate everything in his little domain. And on the other, we have the story of a brilliant storyteller who arranges his own little worlds as he sees fit, and bids farewell to his role ("Now my charms are all o'erthrown/And what strength I have's mine own...")

And appreciated on its own, "The Tempest" is a brilliant play -- Shakespeare juggled the three main plotlines nicely, and brought a solid sense of resolution to the story. His rich dialogue is stunning ("But doth suffer a sea-change/Into something rich and strange/Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell..."), especially during Ariel's songs and Prospero's speeches.
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