The Tempest Critics and Adaptations

‘The Role of Miranda in The Tempest’ – Mike Brett
‘The Role of Miranda in The Tempest’ – Mike Brett “The act of calling someone perfect can be constructed as an act of control”
‘The Role of Miranda in The Tempest’ – Mike Brett Miranda is motivated “by the positive forces of love, rather than the threat of violence.”
‘The Role of Miranda in The Tempest’ – Mike Brett Prospero “choreographs every aspect of her (Miranda’s) life”
‘The Role of Miranda in The Tempest’ – Mike Brett “Miranda’s name means wonder… this is true in quite literal terms as she is the only female character on the island.”
‘The Role of Miranda in The Tempest’ – Mike Brett Miranda’s “femininity becomes an extremely valuable commodity.”
‘The Role of Miranda in The Tempest’ – Mike Brett Prospero “is able to use her sexual appeal as a bargaining tool.”
‘The Role of Miranda in The Tempest’ – Mike Brett “Miranda is both as symbol of female perfection and male oppression.”
Miranda – Valdivieso “Miranda’s main role is to obey her father.”
Miranda – Samuel Taylor Coleridge “She expresses all the delicacy of innocence, yet with all the powers of her mind yet with all the powers of her mind unweakened by the combats of her life.”
Miranda – Lillia Grindlay “Miranda’s direct style of speech reflects her innocent ignorance of the world of court, and it also reveals a somewhat sassier character beneath her idealised surface.”
Prospero and Control – Lillia Grindlay “Ferdinand and Miranda are actors playing the parts that Prospero assigned them.”
‘Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Tempest’ – Amanda Mallibard Prospero’s conduct “seems to contradict the basic tenets of Christian forgiveness.”
‘Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Tempest’ – Amanda Mallibard “Prospero feels free to forgive only after he has emerged triumphant.”
‘Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Tempest’ – Amanda Mallibard “Prospero’s knowledge of gods coupled with his mastery if sorcery make him of a formidable character.”
‘Prospero’s Mirages of Power Struggle and Conscience in The Tempest’ – Lauren Gifford “Ariel’s angelic direction shapes Prospero’s perception of his action.”
‘Prospero’s Mirages of Power Struggle and Conscience in The Tempest’ – Lauren Gifford Ariel “maintains Prospero’s conscience”.
‘Prospero’s Mirages of Power Struggle and Conscience in The Tempest’ – Lauren Gifford “The Tempest encompasses the complexity and strength of the human mind as it wins strength of the human mind as it wins over adverse conditions.”
‘Caliban: A creature of His Times’ – Joanna Williams “Whereas the savage can appreciate the music, the civilised human thinks only in terms of material value”
‘Caliban: A creature of His Times’ – Joanna Williams “Prospero too, perhaps unwittingly, defines Caliban as a man – why else would this scholar spend valuable time teaching him?”
‘Caliban: A creature of His Times’ – Joanna Williams “Caliban presents the Primitive and unrestrained appetite, untouched by civilised notions of self-control.”
‘Caliban: A creature of His Times’ – Joanna Williams Romantics view Caliban’s unrestrained as a sign of freedom, and would have condemned Prospero for trying to suppress this: “Coleridge wrote: ‘The character of Caliban is wonderfully conceived: he is a sort of creature of the Earth’.”
Caliban – Chris Thurman A review from the 2008 RSC performance: “it is clear that Kani’s approach to the role (of Caliban) is based on his identification with Caliban as a victim of tyranny.”
Caliban – Rex Gibson “Caliban is a lonely, oppressed and dispossessed slave.”
Caliban – Rex Gibson “Caliban is brutish and evil by nature.”
Caliban – Samuel Taylor Coleridge Caliban is “all earth, all condensed and gross in feelings and images”>
Prospero and Caliban – David Lindley “The relationship between Prospero and Caliban deteriorates into one of rebellion and domination.”
‘Sound and Music in The Tempest’ – Andrew Green “The mighty storm that opens the play is a thunderously orchestrated work of art.”
‘Sound and Music in The Tempest’ – Andrew Green “Music and sound are Prospero’s most frequently employed means of control.”
‘Sound and Music in The Tempest’ – Andrew Green “At times the music and sounds Prospero invokes take on an almost sadistic cruelty.”
‘Sound and Music in The Tempest’ – Andrew Green “The strange power of music adds to the sense of mystery and confusion felt by many of the characters of the play.”
Ariel – Samuel Taylor Coleridge “An elemental spirit robbed of freedom and tortured by the loss.”
Ariel – Miranda Nesler “As a spirit of the air, Ariel highlights the shifting nature of gender as it was perceived during the period.”
Ariel – Miranda Nesler
Ariel – Miranda Nesler Ariel’s “only request is for freedom.”
Freedom – Taylor Sharpe “Every character is driven by an internal cry for freedom.”
Freedom – David Lindley The play is often seen as “about power and control but perhaps should rather be regarded as a play about the illusion of freedom”.
Control – David Lindley “The presence of Ariel or Prospero in each scene focuses attention on their control rather that the development of the story line.”
The Masque – Jan Frans Van Dijkhuizen “The masque celebrates Prospero’s paternal magnanimity and his ability to defy the laws of time and nature.”
The Masque – Clifford Davidson “The masque is informed by an altogether different level of understanding than revenge motif.”
Feminist View – Monica Krysa The 2010 Julie Taymor version of the play (with Helen Mirren as Prospera) is “a comment on women’s empowerment”.
Colonisation – Rex Gibson “Shakespeare presents a Eurocentric view of colonisation in the Tempest”
Liz Dollimore “The best of Shakespearean humour is undercut with sadness.”
Ashley Riches “Descent from control and an accession to humanity.”
Barry Beck “The play can be seen on a realistic plane as a tale of political power and social responsibility.”
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Remote island the is heavily detailed and intricate with multiple different habitats displayed
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Range of music used – sometimes drowning out the lines, as in the opening scene
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Heavy clashing music used at one point
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Ariel’s voice echoes at multiple points
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Ariel appears as neither man nor woman. They have a very male appearing face yet also we clearly see their breasts
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Ariel also appears greyish – almost transparent at points and is able to manipulate their body to different sizes as well as fly
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Caliban is played following on from traditional readings regarding Caliban being a representation of people from Africa and the Caribbean
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Also, in keeping with traditional style of having a well-known comedian play the jester role Russel Brand pays Trinculo
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Prospero = Prospera in this version becoming a mother/daughter relationship
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Nobles are all wearing dark clothing
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation The opening scene is a good portrayal of Prospera’s power with the storm being loud, violent and scary with pieces of the ship flaming as the ship violently tilts from side to side
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Prospera says she was accused of being a witch when Antonio usurped her
Julie Taymor 2010 film adaptation Ariel is much more self-assured and knows the answer to the questions Prospera asks
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Traditional staging as it would have been in Shakespeare’s day
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Open air
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Minimal props
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Traditional airy music used
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Ariel’s songs are sung with minimal musical accompaniment and are almost hushed whispers
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Ariel is much more emotional in this version and yet at the same time as a pet (easily manipulated and desperate to please)
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Caliban is presented in a demonical way with multi-coloured eyes, covered with earthy tones, wearing nothing but a loin cloth and walks around on both feet and four showing his ability to switch between the two (although he walks oddly on two). Also, very emotional with a range of emotions appearing – notably reverence when talking about Miranda
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Miranda comes across and very juvenile, at multiple points whinging at her father
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Ferdinand is a lot more boyish and talks to the audience giddily about Miranda (much more uneasy in his own body)
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Prospero appears as the old, saddened father at the end who is much weaker, to the point where it seems that he has no plans to blackmail Antonio when they reach Milan again
The RSC Globe Production 2013 Ariel seems unsure and forgetful of the questions Prospero asks him causing Prospero to become angry at having to remind him causing Ariel to become submissive
The Globe 2013 Production Prospero’s elevated status above the other characters represents his power and control over them.
The Tempest as an Allegory The tragedy could be interpreted as an allegory where Prosper acts as God and the island is the Garden of Eden.

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