Terry Foreman • Link
The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, believed written in 1610–11, and thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone. It is set on a remote island, where Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and skillful manipulation. He conjures up a storm, the eponymous tempest, to lure his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples to the island. There, his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio's low nature, the redemption of the King, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso's son, Ferdinand.
The Tempest did not attract a significant amount of attention before the closing of the theatres in 1642, and only attained popularity after the Restoration, and then only in adapted versions.
Sir William Davenant's Duke's Company had the rights to perform The Tempest. In 1667 Davenant and John Dryden made heavy cuts and adapted it as The Tempest or, The Enchanted Island. They tried to appeal to upper-class audiences by emphasising royalist political and social ideals: monarchy is the natural form of government; patriarchal authority decisive in education and marriage; and patrilineality preeminent in inheritance and ownership of property. They also added characters and plotlines: Miranda has a sister, named Dorinda; and Caliban a sister, also named Sycorax. As a parallel to Shakespeare's Miranda/Ferdinand plot, Prospero has a foster-son, Hippolito, who has never set eyes on a woman. Hippolito was a popular breeches role, a man played by a woman, popular with Restoration theatre management for the opportunity to reveal actresses' legs. Scholar Michael Dobson has described Enchanted Island as "the most frequently revived play of the entire Restoration" and as establishing the importance of enhanced and additional roles for women. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tempest
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