Main plot – Prospero’s revenge; subplot – failed attempts by comic characters to conquer island and by Antonio to kill Alonso; another subplot – Ferdinand and Miranda’s love.
Language, form and structure
The Tempest (Grades 9–1)
Characters use spells (often rhyming), curses and songs to invoke weather and magical forces, cast judgement and spread despair (Ariel’s song to Ferdinand about his father).
Descriptions of the magical island and its resources are plentiful – the ‘filthy mantled pool’ and ‘clust’ring filberts’, ‘yellow sands’ and the ‘deep nook’ of the island.
Prospero in particular paints vivid pictures of the magical world he creates and destroys from ‘cloud-capped towers’ and ‘gorgeous palaces’ to the ‘green sea’ and ‘azured vault’.
Individual characters have distinctive language – Ariel, quick verbs and alliteration; Caliban, assonant curses; Trinculo and Stefano, drunken jokes; Prospero, lofty speeches; Boatswain, rough prose.