The unnamed island is a strange mix of cold, northern countryside with ‘thorns’, ‘bogs’ and ‘briars’, and the exotic and magical, with strange sounds and ‘yellow sands’.
The Tempest (Grades 9–1)
Conflict between Italian cities, like that talked about in the play, had been common for two centuries, so Shakespearean audiences associated Italy with murder, rebellion and strong passions.
Many great thinkers of Shakespeare’s time experimented with alchemy. Other plays also tackled the supernatural and spirit world.
Strong religious beliefs and the power of myth led many to believe in or to consider ideal worlds, for example in texts like Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’.
Travel and exploration grew in the 1500s and 1600s and contemporaries of Shakespeare such as Raleigh and Drake brought back exotic products and news of indigenous races.