Re-reading the Tempest

Just a quick post today so that I can get back to prepping for tomorrow’s lesson on Shakespeare!

I can’t remember if I liked The Tempest in 12th grade, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it this time around.  Part of me thinks that maybe this reading was more enjoyable because I know more this time.  There’s something about coming to a book with knowledge that makes the reading of it far more interesting.  Knowing, for example, that the play is thought to be Shakespeare’s last, makes the Prologue stand out much more.  Is it really Shakespeare’s goodbye to the stage?  Coupled with Pospero’s famous lines from Act 4, I think so.  When Prospero says, “The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces / The solemn temples, the great globe itself / …shall dissolve, / And like this insubstantial pageant faded, / Leave not a rack behind,” it seems like there’s a double meaning there.  Yes, he’s talking about the “pageant” that he created on the island, but Shakespeare could also be referring to the “pageant” that he created on the Globe stage that exists for a moment in time and then fades away.

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