November 14th, 2013
Episode 331 of 537 episodes
The Tempest is thought to be one of Shakespeare's final works and contains some of his most poetic and memorable passages. It was influenced by accounts of distant lands written by contemporary explorers, and by the complex politics of the early Jacobean age. The play is set entirely on an unnamed island inhabited by the magician Prospero, his daughter Miranda and the monstrous Caliban, one of Shakespeare's most intriguing characters. Its themes include magic and the nature of theatre itself - and some modern critics have seen it as an early meditation on the ethics of colonialism. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Jonathan Bate, Provost of Worcester College, Oxford; Erin Sullivan, Lecturer and Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham and Katherine Duncan-Jones, Emeritus Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.