• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Historical Context of The Tempest

Extracts from this document...


The Historical Context One thing that probably influenced Shakespeare to write the Tempest was the event that happened in May 1609. A fleet of nine ships set out from England, with five hundred colonists on board. Their goal was the newly founded colony of Virginia, where the settlers intended to begin a new life. They hoped for fabulous fortunes because of everything that they had heard about the natural riches of America. But disaster struck. In the great storm, the ship carrying the expedition's leader, Sir Thomas Gates, became separated from the fleet. The ship was driven onto the rocks of Bermuda, a place feared by sailors and known at the time as the Devil's islands. The rest of the fleet sailed on, and reached Virginia, and sent back news to London of the loss. This is almost mentioned in the script by Ariel, when telling Propsero what she has done with the ship. ...read more.


When, after great difficulties, they set sail the two mutineers elected to stay behind on Bermuda. It is still thought now that the Bermuda area has a magical essence about it. Many reports of boats, planes and other vehicles disappearing into the Bermuda 'Triangle'. Leading people to believe that there is something mystical about Bermuda having power over transport. It is possible that Shakespeare had used this story to base the Tempest on. The terrible storm that befell the colonists is similar to the storm that was conjured up by Prospero to wreck to Royal's ship. The two mutineers who are similar to Antonio and Sebastion, who are plotting to kill Alonso and the fact that everyone returned safely. Aesthetic, scientific, social and philosophical texts formed an essential part of Shakespeare's life and often show themselves in his plays. Whilst it is unknown how dramatists drew from such sources, consciously or subconsciously. ...read more.


Beset by political troubles, Rudolph, much like Prospero and his cave, retreated to his palace library and consoled himself with books. Propsero is also, many say, directly related to Shakespeare. If we look back over which plays were written before the Tempest they included Othello and Macbeth. These plays are dark and depressing which could be seen as the 'Tempest' of Shakespeare's life in the play the Tempest is calmed and Prospero takes his revenge. Eventually he closes with an apology and a goodbye statement. This is Shakespeare saying goodbye to the theatre and the theatre audiences. "Now I want Spirits to enforce, art to enchant; And my ending is despair, Unless I be relived 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." Shakespeare is saying that he hopes people will let him retire, giving him their applause for not only this play, but for everyone on he pieces of work. He hopes to remembered for doing great. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Theatre Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Theatre Studies essays

  1. Discuss how historical stereotypes of Australian masculinity are confirmed or challenged in the film ...

    'her' friend by killing the gangsters who had earlier run over 'her' friend. Also, the garage owner contacted his mate when a man tried to sell one of the gangsters' car, resulting in the murder of the car thief. While the plot of Two Hands, at Kings Cross and involving

  2. How Far Did Historical Influences Affect The Development Of The Theatre Royal Bath In ...

    The dome was removed, efficient ventilation installed and a completely new proscenium built. These were then complimented by the addition of new retiring rooms and open sided boxes. These developments however, failed to keep the theatre from being moved and in 1805 it was constructed in a classical style unlike its surroundings, which had been built in Gothic style.

  1. Steven Berkoff - East. Social, Cultural & Historical.

    Berkoff shows this in Sylv's 'Speech of Resolution' in which she determines that she 'will not end our days like this', but she will as Mike asks for Les to donate him a snout - the 'opium' that allows them to continue suffering under the weight of dull and depressing jobs.

  2. The conflict and contrast between the utopian ideals and Elizabethan politics presented in Shakespeare

    perfect example of the Utopia, the impossible, seductive, unrealisable dream- like the communist one of our times, a real place that nevertheless exists nowhere. Set in stark contrast to Gonzalo's gentle innocence optimism stands the brash cynicism of Antonio and Sebastian.

  1. Analysis of Context in 'The Crucible'

    By the time that the fever and illness had subsided in late 1692 many people where imprisoned and many hanged for witchcraft and the illness of the girls. The theme of hysteria runs throughout this period as it did during the Cold War and the rise against communism.

  2. A Doll's House - Form, structure, and social and historical context

    Although set in the late 19th century, the issues and themes explored in Ibsen's play can still be seen in modern day society. In the 21st century, women leaving their husbands is not nearly as uncommon or taboo; yet audiences in 2005 may still see abandoning one's children as unjustifiable.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work