Shakespeare in the Modern World: The Tempest and Tempestuous


By Allison Lemley, Tom Wachtel, and Chad Westmaas

Discussion Questions


In what ways do Miranda and Prospero wield their respective powers?

How do the people around them react to their power in the beginning of each story?

Do you think Prospero's and Miranda's desire for revenge is justified?

In what ways do you see the characters of Miranda and Prospero changing throughout the stories?

Do Miranda and Prospero actually give up their power in the end?

Do you think that Kim Askew successful mirrored the characters of The Tempest in her work?

How is power represented differently in different characters in each story?

Who does the island really belong to?

What are some of the themes that you see playing out in each story?

How is the relationships between Prospero/Miranda and Ariel the same or different from the relationship between Prospero/Miranda and Caleb/Caliban?

Class Activities


1. After a brief class discussion about sumptuary laws as they appear in The Tempest students will break off into groups and discuss the ways in which these are represented in Tempestuous. They will then work together to create a new, modern, set of sumptuary laws based on Tempestuous and their own lives. Students will then present their versions of modern sumptuary laws to the class. The class will then discuss what effect these laws have on class systems in past and present day.

2. The class will separate into small groups and read aloud from a preselected corresponding section of The Tempest and Tempestuous. While doing so students will take note of the differences in language, both of the characters and of the text itself, between the two. After small group discussion representatives from each group will enact dramatic readings of both pieces, making sure to highlight important language features in both texts.

3. After breaking into small groups students will set about casting their own filmed versions of Tempestuous. They will have to choose actors and actresses for every major role and be ready to discuss their selections with the class. As a whole class we will discuss the different qualifications students used in their selection and how it would change the film as a whole. Students will then be asked to discuss whether or not their selections for Tempestuous would still be applicable to a modern version of The Tempest. This will start the class thinking about the similarities and differences between the characters in the two texts.


Original Multimedia


Additional Resources


Tempest/Tempestuous Review
-A review comparison of The Tempest and Tempestuous.

Tempest Character Map
-A character map of The Tempest, helping students understand the relationship between all the characters.

Sumptuary Laws
-A link to the wikipedia page on sumptuary laws to help students with further clarification.

Colonialism in The Tempest
-An article by Meredith Anne Skura on colonialism in The Tempest. Could be used as additional reading material for those interested in this as a theme.

Tempest Lecture
-And introductory lecture on The Tempest by professor Ian Johnson that covers many of the overarching themes of The Tempest.

Reading Resources
-Various resources designed to help students and teachers with their understanding of the text.

The Tempest Animated
-An short animation on The Tempest.

Becoming Caliban
-A singer from a Met production of The Enchanted Island getting into makeup for Caliban (pictures).

The Tempest Film
-Clip from the Julie Taymor film of Prospera and Ariel's first scene together.

Stratford Tempest
-The Harpie's Warning scene.