I was disappointed in The Tempest. I hardly knew anything about it, but right away, you find out there’s a Magic Man bringing very specific people people to his uninhabited island. It started out just like Lost. It even had a monster. The story was interesting, but then it fizzled at the end, just like Lost. More than any Shakespeare play I’ve read in the last month, this one needs to be seen, not read.
Prospero, the erstwhile Duke of Milan, creates a storm that will bring Alonso and Antonio, the two who conspired to overthrow him and set him and his three-year-old daughter adrift at sea. It seems like it will be a a nifty revenge play, but then you remember this is a comedy/romance and not a tragedy. We’re not going to get murders; we’ve going to get weddings.
I found it unsatisfying that Prospero didn’t exact even the tiniest bit of revenge. I’m all in favor of being the bigger man in real life, but this is a play. It needed that drama, or at least an explanation of why it didn’t happen.
I get that in Elizabethan times, people believed in magic and witches and it was seen as an evil, so Prospero had to give up his magic for that audience. It just doesn’t fly anymore. Give up magic? Tell that to Harry Potter. His other plays resonate today but not this one.
Shakespeare does like his young people to fall in love at first sight and I know that happens, but, damn. Miranda had never laid eyes on a male other than her father and Caliban. She needs to play the field at least some.
It is sentimental reading it, knowing it was his last solo play and knowing he must be feeling his mortality. After reading six Shakespeare plays in a row and finding I’m criticizing him, of all things, it’s time to move out of the 16th century and into something more modern.
Just not too modern. Live long and Prospero.