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

The title The Tempest refers to the storm and the anger of the main character that drives both the action and the plot.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Some Shakespearean scholars and critics, including Hallett Smith and Frank Kermode, suggest that the title of Shakespeare's last fully Shakespeare-written play should be The Island, or Prospero's Island, rather than The Tempest. They argue that the storm at sea occupies only one scene in the play, whereas the island itself remains constant throughout the play and is the location for all of the action in the play.

However, The Tempest isn't about the storm at sea. The raging tempest is simply an illusion that Prospero uses to deceive his intended captives and to bring all of those onboard the ship onto his island so he can manipulate and control them. Prospero shipwrecks his enemies and forces them to his island in much the same way that Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, were cast adrift and landed on this island twelve years ago, for which he intends to avenge himself against his enemies.

Rather than referring to the storm—which doesn't truly exist—the title is symbolic of the turmoil...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1372 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on June 10, 2020
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team