Considered by many scholars as the last play written solely by Shakespeare, I found the Tempest an interesting mix of genres. While other plays are more obvious about their genres (be it tragedies, comedies, or romance/coms), this is considered a romance. While the romance of Miranda and Ferdinand does feature in a couple of scenes, I would not consider it a romance as compared to Romeo and Juliet. It is comedic, but also very subdued and serious at parts. Prospero is very manipulative; he seems to be in control of everything, even the courtship between his daughher Miranda and Ferdinand. There are images and themes of colonialism, servitude, and slavery, even in the romantic scenes between the lovers. Indeed, Prospero’s control of the events in the play are even meta especially in regards to the ending where he asks the audience to applause. The island’s magic and phantasmagorias can be viewed as a play within a play. I did not warm towards Prospero early on because he did not seem like a real character in the play, more a conniving puppet master moving characters toward his goal. He controls how one views the past and how the outcome will be. I think about Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series interpretation of Shakespeare as he wrote The Tempest. A reflective, older man who has spent his life connected to the themes of stage, dreams, imagination and creation, moving characters and stories around, but keenly aware like Prospero at the twilight of his life.
That was a great review. I’m a huge Shakespeare fan and “The Tempest” is one of my favorites. I’d be interested in hearing more about the comparisons between “Sandman” and “The Tempest”.