The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Price: $5.99
  • SKU3200-2-0005
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by William Shakespeare

Paperback: 272 pages

The Folger Shakespeare Library presents the optimal format for reading Shakespeare's single plays. Each book provides the background and context of the play, a brief description of the theater as Shakespeare would have known it, and a brief bio of the writer himself. But the most useful feature is the notation on the page facing the text, explaining Shakespeare's usage of words and phrases. There is a wealth of scholarship embedded in these brief notes. An experienced reader of Shakespeare may skip them, to maintain the momentum of the play, but even we may tarry to ascertain his ken.

The Tempest is the birthplace of "there's nothing ill can dwell in such a temple," "he receives comfort like cold porridge," "what's past is prologue," "misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows," "Oh, brave new world," and "his complexion is perfect gallows." It is Shakespeare's farewell to London, and it is imaginative and enlightening. It is also timeless, often giving rise to contemporary settings in its production.

Prospero's supernatural powers, permeating the action of the play, will take an additional effort at the "willing suspension of disbelief" which we always take to the theater. Yet we are not at all reluctant when, in his epilogue, he boldly asks us to applaud his players.