I can't understand The Tempest.hi, my name is mary i've asked last year about the wasteland and i had a good answer and by which i have knew what i have to do to understand it. now i study about...

I can't understand The Tempest.

hi, my name is mary i've asked last year about the wasteland and i had a good answer and by which i have knew what i have to do to understand it. now i study about william shakespeare the tempest, i can't understand it, i found it so hard ; the words, the expressions please help me!

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teachertaylor's profile pic

teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In Shakespeare's The Tempest, Prospero--the former Duke of Milan--has been usurped by his brother Antonio.  As a result, Prospero goes into exile with his daughter Miranda on an unnamed island.  There, Prospero defeats the witch Sycorax and takes her son Caliban as his servant.  Prospero frees the sprite Ariel from a tree and takes Ariel under his service.  One day, Alonso--along with Antonio and a crew of others--are sailing past the island on the way from Alonso's daughter's wedding.  Prospero orders Ariel to create a storm to shipwreck the crew onto the island.  Once on the island, Alonso's son Ferdinand falls in love with Miranda, and the two eventually marry.  Caliban meets two of the drunken crew members and makes plans to rid the island of Prospero.  Prospero eventually confronts his brother and Alonso and demands to be given back his title.  Reconciliation occurs, yet Prospero decides to remain on the island.  He frees Ariel, and keeps Caliban as his servant.

The play is full of natural magic, and this is often seen in scenes such as the wedding during which the goddesses of nature bless Ferdinand and Miranda's union.

To help with your reading of Shakespeare, you might consider getting a book that provides the original text on one page with a contemporary re-write on the opposing page.

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Have you considered reading the text with a modern translation side-by-side?  Often, this will help you to understand the language which is not extremely difficult, but gives students fits because of the arrangement of words (sentax) in the sentence and also sometimes because of archaic words.  In your case, it may also be difficult as I am assuming that your native language is not English.

The Tempest is also embroiled in a world of fantasy and magic, which may not be a comfortable or familiar world for you.  I am including the link to Enotes' modern version of this wonderful play, but I urge you to read the modern translation in addition to the original so that you may not only understand the story, but you will also learn to appreciate the beauty of Shakespeare's choice of words.  Also take time to read the summary of each Act and scene before reading it in its original entirity.  That may help you catch things you might have missed before.

Good Luck!

cadhikari's profile pic

cadhikari | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on















'The Oxford Companion To English Literature' (ed by M Drabble)may help you a lot.Please read the summary of the play given and then go through the text.The romantic story will  appear before you as if by magic.It's not worth bothering with words.You will certainly get the contextual clues to the meanings.







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