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The Tempest (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – August 12, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0812969108 ISBN-10: 0812969103 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812969103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812969108
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King’s New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as “an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers.” Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later under James I, called the King’s Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain’s Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

list of parts

PROSPERO, the right Duke of Milan
MIRANDA, his daughter
ALONSO, King of Naples
SEBASTIAN, his brother
ANTONIO, Prospero's brother, the usurping Duke of Milan
FERDINAND, son to the King of Naples
GONZALO, an honest old councillor
ADRIAN and FRANCISCO, lords
TRINCULO, a jester
STEPHANO, a drunken butler
MASTER, of a ship
BOATSWAIN
MARINERS
CALIBAN, a savage and deformed slave
ARIEL, an airy spirit
IRIS, CERES, JUNO, spirits commanded by Prospero
playing roles of NYMPHS, REAPERS

The Scene: an uninhabited island

Act 1 Scene 1 running scene 1

A tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard. Enter a Shipmaster and a Boatswain

MASTER Boatswain!

BOATSWAIN Here, master. What cheer?

MASTER Good: speak to th'mariners. Fall to't yarely, or we run ourselves aground! Bestir, bestir! Exit

Enter Mariners

BOATSWAIN Heigh, my hearts! Cheerly, cheerly, my hearts! Yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to th'master's whistle.- Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough.

Enter Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, Gonzalo and others

ALONSO Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master? Play the men.

BOATSWAIN I pray now, keep below.

ANTONIO Where is the master, boatswain?

BOATSWAIN Do you not hear him? You mar our labour. Keep your cabins! You do assist the storm.

GONZALO Nay, good, be patient.

BOATSWAIN When the sea is. Hence! What cares these roarers for the name of king? To cabin! Silence! Trouble us not.

GONZALO Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard.

BOATSWAIN None that I more love than myself. You are a counsellor: if you can command these elements to silence, and work the peace of the present, we will not hand a rope more: use your authority. If you cannot, give thanks you have lived so long, and make yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap.- Cheerly, good hearts!- Out of our way, I say.

Exeunt [Boatswain with Mariners, followed by Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio and Ferdinand]

GONZALO I have great comfort from this fellow: methinks he hath no drowning mark upon him: his complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast, good Fate, to his hanging: make the rope of his destiny our cable, for our own doth little advantage. If he be not born to be hanged, our case is miserable. Exit

Enter Boatswain

BOATSWAIN Down with the topmast! Yare! Lower, lower! Bring her to try with main course. (A cry within) A plague upon this howling! They are louder than the weather or our office.

Enter Sebastian, Antonio and Gonzalo

Yet again? What do you here? Shall we give o'er and drown? Have you a mind to sink?

SEBASTIAN A pox o'your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!

BOATSWAIN Work you then.

ANTONIO Hang, cur! Hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker! We are less afraid to be drowned than thou art.

GONZALO I'll warrant him for drowning, though the ship were no stronger than a nutshell and as leaky as an unstanched wench.

BOATSWAIN Lay her ahold, ahold! Set her two courses off to sea again! Lay her off!

Enter Mariners, wet

MARINERS All lost! To prayers, to prayers! All lost!

BOATSWAIN What, must our mouths be cold?

GONZALO The king and prince at prayers: let's assist them, for our case is as theirs.

SEBASTIAN I'm out of patience.

ANTONIO We are merely cheated of our lives by drunkards. This wide-chopped rascal: would thou mightst lie drowning, the washing of ten tides!

GONZALO He'll be hanged yet,
Though every drop of water swear against it
And gape at wid'st to glut him. [Exeunt Boatswain and Mariners]

A confused noise within

[VOICES OFF-STAGE] Mercy on us! - We split, we split! - Farewell, my wife and children! - Farewell, brother! - We split, we split, we split!

ANTONIO Let's all sink wi'th'king.

SEBASTIAN Let's take leave of him. Exeunt [Antonio and Sebastian]

GONZALO Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground: long heath, brown furze, anything. The wills above be done! But I would fain die a dry death.

Exit


Act 1 Scene 2 running scene 2

Enter Prospero and Miranda

MIRANDA If by your art, my dearest father, you have
Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.
The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
But that the sea, mounting to th'welkin's cheek,
Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffered
With those that I saw suffer: a brave vessel -
Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her -
Dashed all to pieces. O, the cry did knock
Against my very heart. Poor souls, they perished.
Had I been any god of power, I would
Have sunk the sea within the earth, or ere
It should the good ship so have swallowed, and
The fraughting souls within her.

PROSPERO Be collected:
No more amazement. Tell your piteous heart
There's no harm done.

MIRANDA O, woe the day!

PROSPERO No harm:
I have done nothing but in care of thee -
Of thee, my dear one, thee, my daughter - who
Art ignorant of what thou art: nought knowing
Of whence I am, nor that I am more better
Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell,
And thy no greater father.

MIRANDA More to know
Did never meddle with my thoughts.

PROSPERO 'Tis time
I should inform thee further. Lend thy hand
And pluck my magic garment from me. So:
Lie there, my art. Wipe thou thine eyes, have his magic cloak
comfort.
The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touched
The very virtue of compassion in thee,
I have with such provision in mine art
So safely ordered that there is no soul -
No, not so much perdition as an hair
Betid to any creature in the vessel
Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink. Sit
down, [Miranda sits]
For thou must now know further.

MIRANDA You have often
Begun to tell me what I am, but stopped
And left me to a bootless inquisition,
Concluding 'Stay: not yet.'

PROSPERO The hour's now come,
The very minute bids thee ope thine ear:
Obey, and be attentive. Canst thou remember
A time before we came unto this cell?
I do not think thou canst, for then thou wast not
Out three years old.

MIRANDA Certainly, sir, I can.

PROSPERO By what? By any other house or person?
Of any thing the image, tell me, that
Hath kept with thy remembrance.

MIRANDA 'Tis far off,
And rather like a dream than an assurance
That my remembrance warrants. Had I not
Four or five women once that tended me?

PROSPERO Thou hadst; and more, Miranda. But how is it
That this lives in thy mind? What see'st thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
If thou rememb'rest aught ere thou cam'st here,
How thou cam'st here thou mayst.

MIRANDA But that I do not.

PROSPERO Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,
Thy father was the Duke of Milan and
A prince of power.

MIRANDA Sir, are not you my father?

PROSPERO Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and
She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father
Was Duke of Milan, and his only heir
And princess, no worse issued.

MIRANDA O the heavens!
What foul play had we, that we came from thence?
Or blessèd wast we did?

PROSPERO Both, both, my girl.
By foul play - as thou say'st - were we heaved
thence,
But blessedly holp hither.

MIRANDA O, my heart bleeds
To think o'th'teen that I have turned you to,
Which is from my remembrance. Please you, further.

PROSPERO My brother and thy uncle, called Antonio -
I pray thee, mark me - that a brother should
Be so perfidious - he whom next thyself
Of all the world I loved, and to him put
The manage of my state, as at that time
Through all the signories it was the first,
And Prospero the prime duke, being so reputed
In dignity, and for the liberal arts
Without a parallel; those being all my study,
The government I cast upon my brother
And to my state grew stranger, being transported
And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle -
Dost thou attend me?

MIRANDA Sir, most heedfully.

PROSPERO Being once perfected how to grant suits,
How to deny them, who t'advance and who
To trash for over-topping, new created
The creatures that were mine, I say, or changed 'em,
Or else new formed 'em; having both the key
Of officer and office, set all hearts i'th'state
To what tune pleased his ear, that now he was
The ivy which had hid my princely trunk
And sucked my verdure out on't.- Thou attend'st
not.

MIRANDA O good sir, I do.

PROSPERO I pray thee, mark me:
I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
To closeness and the bettering of my mind
With that, which but by being so retired,
O'er-prized all popular rate, in my false brother
Awaked an evil nature, and my trust,
Like a good parent, did beget of him
A falsehood in its contrary, as great
As my trust was, which had indeed no limit,
A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded,
Not only with what my revenue yielded,
But what my power might else exact: like one
Who having into truth, by telling of it,
Made such a sinner of his memory
To credit his own lie, he did believe
He was indeed the duke, out o'th'substitution
And executing th'outward face of royalty
With all prerogative: hence his ambition growing -
Dost thou hear?

MIRANDA Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.

PROSPERO To have no screen between this part he played,
And him he played it for, he needs will be
Absolute Milan. Me - poor man - my library
Was dukedom large enough: of temporal royalties
He thinks me now incapable. Confederates -
So dry he was for sway - wi'th'King of Naples
To give him annual tribute, do him homage,
Subject his coronet to his crown, and bend
The dukedom yet unbowed - alas, poor Milan -
To most ignoble stooping.

MIRANDA O the heavens!

PROSPERO Mark his condition and th'event, then tell me
If this might be a brother.

MIRANDA I should sin
To think but nobly of my grandmother:
Good wombs have borne bad sons.

PROSPERO Now the condition.
This King of Naples, being an enemy
To me inveterate, hearkens my brother's suit,
Which was, that he, in lieu o'th'premises
Of homage, and I know not how much tribute,
Should presently extirpate me and mine
Out of the dukedom, and confer fair Milan,
With all the honours, on my brother: whereon,
A treacherous army levied, one midnight
Fated to th'purpose, did Antonio open
The gates of Milan, and i'th'dead of darkness
The ministers for th'purpose hurried thence
Me and thy crying self.

MIRANDA Alack, for pity!
I, not rememb'ring how I cried out then,
Will cry it o'er again: it is a hint
That wrings mine eyes to't.

PROSPERO Hear a little further,
And then I'll bring thee to the present business
Which now's upon's: without the which, this story
Were most impertinent.

MIRANDA Wherefore did they not
That hour destroy us?

PROSPERO Well demanded, wench:
My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not,
So dear the love my people bore me: nor set
A mark so bloody on the business: but
With colours fairer, painted their foul ends.
In few, they hurried us aboard a barque,
Bore us some leagues to sea, where they prepared
A rotten carcass of a butt, not rigged,
Nor tackle, sail, nor mast: the very rats
Instinctively have quit it. There they hoist us,
To cry to th'sea that roared to us; to sigh
To th'winds, whose pity sighing back again,
Did us but loving wrong.

MIRANDA Alack, what trouble
Was I then to you!

PROSPERO O, a cherubin
Thou wast that did preserve me. Thou didst smile,
Infusèd with a fortitude from heaven,
When I have decked the sea with drops full salt,
Under my burden groaned, which raised in me
An undergoing stomach, to bear up
Against what should ensue.

MIRANDA How came we ashore?

PROSPERO By providence divine.
Some food we had, and some fresh water, that
A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo,
Out of his charity - who being then appointed
Master of this design - did give us, with
Rich garments, linens, stuffs and necessaries,
Which since have steaded much. So, of
his gentleness,
Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom.

MIRANDA Would I might
But ever see that man.

PROSPERO Now I arise: Prospero stands
Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow.
Here in this island we arrived, and here
Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit
Than other princes can that have more time
For vainer hours, and tutors not so careful.

MIRANDA Heavens thank you for't. And now, I pray you,
sir,
For still 'tis beating in my mind: your reason
For raising this sea-storm?

PROSPERO Know thus far forth:
By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune -
Now my dear lady - hath mine enemies
Brought to this shore: and by my prescience
I find my zenith doth depend upon
A most auspicious star, whose influence
If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes
Will ever after droop. Here cease more questions:
Thou art inclined to sleep. 'Tis a good dullness,
And give it way: I know thou canst not choose.- Miranda
Come away, servant, come. I am ready now. sleeps
Approach, my Ariel, come.

Enter Ariel

ARIEL All hail, great master! Grave sir, hail! I come
To answer thy best pleasure; be't to fly,
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
On the curled clouds: to thy strong bidding task
Ariel and all his quality.

PROSPERO Hast thou, spirit,
Performed to point the tempest that I bade thee?

ARIEL To every article.
I boarded the king's ship: now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement: sometime I'd divide
And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and bowsprit would I flame distinctly,
Then meet and join. Jove's lightning, the precursors
O'th'dreadful thunderclaps, more momentary
And sight-outrunning were not; the fire and cracks
Of sulphurous roaring, the most mighty Neptune
Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble,
Yea, his dread trident shake.

PROSPERO My brave spirit!
Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil
Would not infect his reason?

ARIEL Not a soul
But felt a fever of the mad and played
Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners
Plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel,
Then all afire with me: the king's son, Ferdinand,
With hair up-staring - then like reeds, not hair -
Was the first man that leaped; cried 'Hell is empty
And all the devils are here.'

PROSPERO Why, that's my spirit!
But was not this nigh shore?

ARIEL Close by, my master.

PROSPERO But are they, Ariel, safe?

ARIEL Not a hair perished:
On their sustaining garments not a blemish,
But fresher than before: and, as thou bad'st me,
In troops I have dispersed them 'bout the isle.
The king's son have I landed by himself,
Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs
In an odd angle of the isle, and sitting,
His arms in this sad knot. [Folds his arms]

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carol Sullivan on January 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great edition of the only original play of William Shakespeare. The RSC has a great introductions, wonderful explanations of words at the bottom of each page, general summaries of each scene, and interesting essays on several productions. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
For me, there's more to love in the themes of The Tempest than in the actual written work itself, which is why the RSC Modern Library edition of Shakespeare's last work was such a delight. The introduction and textual notes were informative and entertaining, and the concluding sections on the history of performances of The Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Company, accompanied by interviews with various directors and actors involved, was nothing short of phenomenal. Five stars to the edition, if not the play itself.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Many consider "The Tempest" to be the final play that Shakespeare wrote solo, which gives a certain bittersweet flavor to its story -- especially since the main character is a sorcerer who manipulates others to get the ending he desires. Shakespeare juggled a trio of main stories before tying them off in rare style, but it's Prospero and his final speech that are truly intriguing.

For many years, the exiled Duke of Milan Prospero has lived on a remote island with his young daughter Miranda. But when he discovers that his treacherous brother Antonio and his similarly treacherous friends are nearby on a sailing ship, he summons a storm that causes the ship to crash on the island.

And like a puppet-master, Prospero arranges this as he wants -- he sends his servant Ariel to haunt the men who betrayed him, he thwarts the machinations of his evil servant Caliban, and he pretends to treat Alonso's son Ferdinand badly while secretly matchmaking him with Miranda. In the end, everything will be as he desired.

"The Tempest" is a play with two different dimensions. On one hand, we have a simple story about a mage whose power allows him to manipulate everything in his little domain. And on the other, we have the story of a brilliant storyteller who arranges his own little worlds as he sees fit, and bids farewell to his role ("Now my charms are all o'erthrown/And what strength I have's mine own...")

And appreciated on its own, "The Tempest" is a brilliant play -- Shakespeare juggled the three main plotlines nicely, and brought a solid sense of resolution to the story. His rich dialogue is stunning ("But doth suffer a sea-change/Into something rich and strange/Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell..."), especially during Ariel's songs and Prospero's speeches.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Monica Chen on August 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
looks like new. I forget if I ordered a used or new edition for this play, but I am thoroughly convinced that it is new.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GB4711 on August 15, 2013
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It was required for a college english literature class and is what to be expected for a college text book.
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