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The Tempest Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What's the difference between Prospero's "art" and Sycorax's magic?
  2. Why is the play (and everyone in it) so obsessed with Miranda's virginity?
  3. Should we read Prospero's epilogue as Shakespeare's farewell to the theater?
  4. Throughout the stage history of The Tempest, Caliban has been portrayed as a Caribbean islander, a Native American, a black African, and an Irish peasant. Why is that? How relevant is race to this play?
  5. If Prospero's magic is so powerful, why didn't he just use his magic to avoid getting booted out of Milan? Is it because his magic is only good on the island? Something else?
  6. What is the play's attitude (if it has one) toward colonialism? We know Shakespeare wrote The Tempest when England's colonial ventures were in their infancy. Should we read this work as a piece of colonial literature?

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