© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
The Tempest

The Tempest


Analysis

The Tempest as Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Voyage and Return Plot

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Voyage and Return

Anticipation Stage and 'Fall' into the Other World

Prospero is forced out of Milan (his dukedom) along with his baby daughter.

Prospero has been wrongly thrust onto this island, and that wrong must be addressed, or, by Jove, this isn't a play by William Shakespeare.

Initial Fascination or Dream Stage

Prospero lives twelve years happily on the island with his daughter.

We find Prospero with a loving and precocious daughter, who has a sensitivity towards those she has not met (namely everybody). Prospero has two servants, and is well kept on the island.

Frustration Stage

Prospero discovers an auspicious star; timing must be perfect as all of his former enemies draw near the island.

We meet Prospero when he is anxious about the work he has ahead. His power depends on getting this timing right. Unlike a traditional frustration stage, we're not really worried that Prospero won't pull it all off (nor is he). Why? Because the play isn't really about the plot at all, since Prospero has already moved all of his enemies to the island in the first scene of the first act.

Nightmare Stage

Usurpers roam rampantly around the island – some enemies of Prospero, some of Alonso, all going down.

Again, not so much of a nightmare – we've seen that Prospero's power is amazing enough to create a tempest, and his manservant (or spirit servant) Ariel is fiercely competent. It is distressing though, to have two murder plots hatched simultaneously. Prospero must face and stop both of these attempts at treachery.

Thrilling Escape and Return

Prospero gathers everyone together to delight in the fruits of his labor and marvel at his art; Prospero is sent back to Milan, a duke once more.

Beautiful magic is performed all around, and Prospero gets over his vengeance kick while the bad guys escape the punishment they deserve. This works for some of them, and all of this mercy and good feeling is an all-around new start for everyone – they return to their old land with freshly clean consciences and clear futures.

Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top