RQ: The Tempest, Act 1
Keep the following questions in mind as you read The Tempest, Act 1. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.
How does Prospero cause the storm? Does he cause it? Why does he cause the tempest that seems, to the nobles and sailors, at least, to wreck their ship?
How does Shakespeare make the play feel like its set in the future?
What do Sycorax to Prospero have in common? What do Ariel to Miranda have in common? What do Caliban and Ferdinand have in common?
What sorts of transformations have all of the characters on the island undergone by the end of the first act?
Does Prospero manipulate Miranda and Ferdinand at the end of act one, or do they really experience “love at first site”? How does the “love a first site” motif compare to the tempest with which the play opens?
Feel free to use the a database such as Open Source Shakespeare for these sorts of usage questions: What’s the relationship between the words ‘wrack’ and ‘rack’? What does the lack of aural distinction imply? Does Shakespeare repeat any other words or phrases in the first act? If yes, what are the implications?
If you had to stage the magical elements the first act of The Tempest how would you do it? In other words, how would you communicate storm at sea (1.1); Ariel’s invisibility (1.2.374); or Caliban’s supposed strangeness?