The Tempest

The TempestThe Tempest by William Shakespeare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tempest is one of those stories filled with magic and spirits and gods, but yet very much shaped by the Christian gospel.

Prospero has been exiled by his usurping brother, but he is a sorcerer who brings storms, wrecks ships, blinds and moves men as he wills, with the help of the fairy Ariel. He overcame the evil witch on the island to which he was exiled, keeping her son Caliban as his servant.

Prospero prevents a plot to kill another prince, and confronts his usurper, while also offering him forgiveness. It seemed to me that Prospero represents God, who sovereignly moves events, whom we have kicked out of His own kingdom/world, who offers us forgiveness, and who works in our hearts like Ariel to move us to repentance.

Shakespeare contrasts the faithful servant Ariel who gains his freedom at the end, with the treacherous Caliban (and others) who are self-serving and willing to betray their masters to get ahead.

Once you’ve read this, go get Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt, which is a Junior High meditation on various Shakespeare plays. He plays with Caliban’s many curses to great amusement.

“Toads, beetles, bats, light on you!”

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