Why Is The Tempest Popular

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Why was the tempest popular?

The tempest was one of the last plays written by William Shakespeare, and is unique in its entirely original plot. Its descriptions of wild storms, foreign and unknown islands, and ethereal spirits has fascinated audiences since its first performance at the Jacobean Court in 1611. Shakespeare's focus on English colonialism drew audiences who wanted to hear about faraway lands full of foreign creatures, but another attraction was that it allowed an exciting look into Shakespeare's view of the monarchy, which was portrayed subtly through the interactions between the characters (though this would of course never be admitted). Through a combination of thinly disguised controversial views, descriptions of foreign countries
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If we believe the most widely accepted assumption that it was written in 1611, we know that colonisation was a massive issue within society at the time of it being written. Prospero's action of coming to the island and forcing his own culture and beliefs upon the inhabitants mirrors those of the Europeans in America in the centuries before it was written. We can therefore take Sycorax's island to be a representation of America, and Caliban and Ariel one of the native Americans who were so brutally persecuted and belittled by the Europeans. This type of social commentary would have been interesting to a contemporary…show more content…
The first stage direction of the tempest is 'a tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning' which was shown using thunder sheets and fireworks. More detail was sometimes added by turning a length of canvas on a wheel to simulate the noise of wind, or rolling a cannonball down a trough to produce a roll of thunder. These kinds of vivid special effects captivated Jacobean audiences, and continued innovation in theatres has allowed theatre companies to take advantage of the stage directions and settings of the tempest with increasingly brilliant special
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