|Dilly, Indy and Mo under 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (a play by William Shakespeare) statue in New Place, Stratford|
On our recent trip to Stratford, we went to the RSC (a theatre company named the Royal Shakespeare Company) to see the William Shakespeare play THE TEMPEST.
THE TEMPEST is a play about a magical island where two people - the magician Prospero and his daughter Miranda - plus a spirit called Ariel and a hideous creature called Caliban - live together. Prospero used to be Duke of Milan until there was a plot against him. Now he has nothing but his magic books and his daughter.
Then one day a ship passes by, carrying Prospero's old enemies from Italy, and the old magician raises a storm to shipwreck them on his island.
|Act I, Scene 1 of The Tempest by William Shakespeare, where the King of Naples and his sailors are shipwrecked: an engraving based on a painting by George Romney.|
Ariel and Caliban are slaves to Prospero and do his bidding. King Alonso, Antonio, Sebastian, Prince Ferdinand and many others are shipwrecked because King Alonso and Antonio had planned Prospero's exile and set him adrift in a boat with baby Miranda so Antonio could be Duke of Milan.
Now Prospero wants his revenge.
When the King of Naples and his men land, they find the island is full of enchantment, music & spirits. The spirit Ariel teases the shipwrecked men with invisible singers and disappearing visions of food, then helps the lost Prince Ferdinand fall in love with Miranda (who has never seen a young man until she meets him!).
The Tempest is a 'comedy', which really means it has a happy ending. In the end, Ariel is set free for serving the magician so well, Prospero is returned to his Dukedom, Ferdinand marries Miranda, King Alonso gets his son back alive, Caliban inherits the isle and everything is fine.
Prospero's final speech before he leaves the island forever:
Now my charms are all overthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint. Now 'tis true I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not, since I have my Dukedom got,
And pardoned the deceiver, dwell, in this bare island by your spell
But release me from my bands, with the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails, must fill, or else my project fails
Which was to please. Now I want spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair, unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults mercy itself, and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardoned be, let your indulgence
Set ME free.