The Tempest - Arkangel Cast, Jennifer Ehle, Adrian Lester, William Shakespeare I finished my rereading of The Tempest earlier today. As usual when I reread one of the Bard's plays, I appreciate it more. I can definitely upgrade my initial reaction to a solid 3 stars. It's still not a favorite; many of the qualms I had from my original review remain. Except perhaps at the end when Prospero gives up the power his magic gives him, though I couldn't tell you why he does so - Shakespeare doesn't give us much in the way of motivation for any of his actions. For example, why does he forgive Antonio? How secure is Antonio going to be with a restored Duke Prospero? Why is Prospero OK with Ferdinand courting his daughter? (I realize that in the context of Elizabethan and Jacobean England it's usual but the modern reader must realize that Miranda is only 15 years old. I wonder how young she was when Caliban - how old is he? - attempted to rape her, and was it really "rape" or just two children playing "doctor"? Considering Prospero's decidedly aristocratic temperament, I can easily see him overeacting and the incident becoming more and more lurid with each passing year.)

That aside, The Tempest is a good play by itself. I was particularly taken with Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano who came across as the most "real" in this reading. (I'm sure something else will engage me the next time I read the play.)
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This is probably the least 3-starry play amongst my Shakespeare reading. More like a 2.5 or 2.6; I'm rounding up because it is Shakespeare and I do wish I could write half so well.

The greatest impediment to a full-throated 3 stars is that I don't find anyone in the play all that admirable or interesting. The two characters I feel any regard for (and it's sympathy) are Ariel and Caliban, enslaved these dozen years by Prospero, whom I think Caliban rightly calls "tyrant."

My practice over the last year, ever since I discovered that my Glendora library has all of the plays on Audio CD and most of BBC TV's versions on DVD, has been to read (or reread) the text, listen to the play, and watch a version (or versions). Perhaps when I get the time to watch the DVD this weekend, I'll have more sympathy for the play.

(And I just wanted to mention: I'm not approaching this from the point of view of colonialist-native. Heck, I'm one of the white males who've been oppressing the rest of you for four centuries. Prospero's a "tyrant" by any measure.)