World Events Influencing Shakespeare¨s The Tempest

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“What’s past is Prologue” – William Shakespeare
Shakespeare lived and produced much of his famous works during the time when Queen Elizabeth ruled England and Ireland. This era was known as the Elizabethan Era. The world and its people were quickly evolving. It was the “golden age” of poetry, music and literature. It was in the midst of European exploration that Shakespeare wrote, The Tempest. It would be safe to suggest that many of the worldly events during this time, such as the shipwreck of Sea Venture, global colonization, and the works of Michel de Montaigne, had prodigious influences on Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest.
The Tempest starts aboard a ship in the middle of the sea caught in a violent hurricane. Members of the audience can hear Gonzola shout, “The wills above be done, but I would fain die a dry death” (Act 1, Scene1). It is believed by many scholars, Shakespeare’s source of this shipwreck is the famous shipwreck of the Sea Venture in 1609 on its voyage from England to Jamestown, VA. It was a total of nine ships traveling together until a fierce storm violently rocked and thrashed the boat and crew, separating them from the rest of the fleet. Eventually, the crew of Sea Venture found safety on a remote island in the Bermudas and were not reunited with the rest of the voyage members until one year later. Letters, sponsored by the Jamestown Company and written by William Strachey, describing the horrific events the crew members encountered during their tragedy, were later published and are believed to have been read by William Shakespeare. The aforementioned reasons being that there are many events described in the letters from the shipwreck that are similar to events in Shakespeare’s, The Tempest. One source sta...

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...ople were quickly evolving. It was a time known as the Elizabethan Era for when Queen Elizabeth ruled England.

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