English Literature: The Tempest
This page should provide a shortcut to everything you need for the English Literature GCSE course on The Tempest, the final play by William Shakespeare. The essays are listed most prominently, but there are also notes and useful classwork provided.
Nature versus Nurture
Shakespeare's final masterpiece presents the readers and viewers with a range of characters, each of whom has a personality and set of abilities. Some such aspects are assumed to be innate, and to exist simply because of who they are. Others are explained to have been developed by the experiences that the characters have enjoyed and endured in the years leading up to the play's events. Sometimes, the supremacy of either in regards to the personalities of each character can be the subject of much debate.
Wonder and Enchantment
In the penultimate scene of his ultimate play, the famous bard writes of how two young lovers, Miranda and Ferdinand, are gifted with Prospero's magic on the acceptance of their union. As a pre-wedding present to the future couple, the deposed Duke puts on a masque – a grand display of light and dance by his spirits.
The final scene of the final play sees Prospero complete his masterplan of punishing then forgiving the royal court of Naples, marrying Miranda off to Ferdinand and securing his return home. At the very end of the play, he delivers an epilogue declaring that his magical powers have been relinquished and asking the audience to release him.
Much of this relates to Shakepeare's own life at the time of writing: This was his last full play and he was announcing his retirement.