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1001 The Tempest1
Added on 23rd August 2020

Author William Shakespeare
First performed 1611

A story of shipwreck, enchantment and magic.


Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan, is stranded on a remote island with his daughter Miranda and a horde of magical spirits at his command. The play begins with a storm, magically conjured to shipwreck Prospero’s usurping brother Antonio and his companions. They are scattered across the island and each group is hassled and tricked by spirits in typical Shakespearean fashion. Romance and comedy intertwine as Prospero plays out his revenge on the stranded courtiers.

Why we chose it

One of the shortest of Shakespeare’s plays and with fewer subplots and plot twist than many, The Tempest is ideal for primary school as well as secondary school pupils. The magic fantasy island, magical characters and enchantments are similar to the fairy tales children are already familiar with and the themes of power, revenge, forgiveness and enchantment are readily understood.

Where it came from

One of Shakespeare’s last plays, The Tempest defies the traditional Renaissance genres of Romance, Tragedy and Comedy, incorporating elements of all three to create a complex and compelling spectacle.

Where it went next

Ever popular, The Tempest has not only been a staple of English theatre ever since, it has also inspired a huge number of artists across all genres, including poetry, opera, art, ballet, film and even television.

Associated stories

Shakespeare’s other great works include: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night.

Added on 23rd August 2020

Author William Shakespeare
First performed 1611