The Tempest (Folger Shakespeare Library)

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Putting romance onstage, The Tempest gives us a magician, Prospero, a former duke of Milan who was once displaced by his treacherous brother, Antonio. Prospero is exiled on an island, where his only companions are his daughter, Miranda, the spirit Ariel, and the monster Caliban. When his enemies are among those caught in a storm near the island, Prospero turns his power upon them through Ariel and other spirits.

The characters exceed the roles of villains and heroes. Prospero seems heroic, yet he enslaves Caliban and has an appetite for revenge. Caliban appears to be a monster for attacking Miranda, but appears heroic in resisting Prospero, evoking the period of colonialism all the way through which the play was once written. Miranda’s engagement to Ferdinand, the Prince of Naples and a member of the shipwrecked party, helps unravel the drama.

The authoritative edition of The Tempest from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:

-Freshly edited text based on the most efficient early printed version of the play

-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

-Scene-by-scene plot summaries

-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases

-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language

-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern point of view on the play

-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books

-An annotated guide to further reading

Essay by Barbara A. Mowat

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the world. Along with exhibitions open to the public all over the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more info, visit Folger.edu.

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