Discuss the significance of the title of the play The Tempest.

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Greg Jackson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A tempest is a violent storm and considering that the first scene of the play takes place in such a storm, the title is quite fitting. It is this tempest, caused by Prospero's magic, that results in the entire plot and action of the play.

There is a symbolic meaning to the play's title as well. The relationships between many of the characters are as chaotic as a violent storm. Nothing goes smoothly for anyone, even the would-be puppet-master Prospero. He has to endure a mutiny that nearly throws all his plans awry.

Antonio's true motivations are laid plain to the King of Naples. The King for his part is distraught over the feared loss of his son. Almost nobody respects Gonzalo, despite his wisdom and optimistic outlook. Throughout all of this, we see Prospero's extreme anger towards his brother building before eventually subsiding as a storm does.

As we can see, the literal tempest exposed a the underlying stormy relationships between nearly every character in the play. In this sense, it...

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