This seminar examines Shakespeare’s popular late romance the /Tempest/ in light of current scholarly and critical debates. How are we meant to view this play – as a universal meditation on the themes of revenge and reconciliation or as an early critique of England’s nascent imperialism? For centuries, readers and playgoers alike saw the /Tempest/ as a tale using the romance elements of magic, usurped kingdoms, the possibility of revenge, and the ultimate resolution in reconciliation but in recent decades scholars have concentrated on the issues of colonial expansion and usurpation of another’s land or patriarchy and oppression. We will examine these issues within the historical context in which Shakespeare wrote the play and discuss strategies for teaching this play in a high-school English class.
Seminar led by Scott Manning Stevens, Newberry Library