How to Improve in Shakespeare's The Tempest

How to Improve in Shakespeare's The Tempest

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How to Improve Shakespeare’s Tempest


Mr. William Shakespeare, I am going to get right down to business.  I am writing to you regarding

our recent collaboration on The Tempest.  In my opinion I think we need to make

a couple of changes.  The first is in regards to Caliban and the second has to

do with Prospero.


        As I was reading the section of the play where Caliban takes Stephano as

his master I began to think about how he should be wiser by now.  As is Caliban

begs a drunken Stephano to be his master.  In my opinion Caliban should show

development by not drinking and possibly taking advantage of the drunk Stephano

and Trinculo.  It should develop in this fashion:


        Caliban:       I believe that I can assist you in your stay on the



        Stephano:      What mean you beast?


        Caliban:               I prithee, let me bring thee where crabs grow,

                    And I with my long nails will dig thee pignuts,

                    Show thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how

                    To snare the nimble marmoset.  I'll bring thee

                    To clustering filberts, and I'll teach thee to get

                    Young scamels from the rock.  Does't though attend me?


     Stephano:      I do.  For all this service what want'st you in return.


     Caliban:       I ask but one simple service.  The death of my tyrant



     Stephano:      You ask me to murder for you?


     Caliban:       I ask only that you remove your only opponent in making

                    me your vassal.


     Stephano:      Well bargain'd for a monster such as thee.  I shall

                    consider it.


If the scene is run in this way Caliban is developed as more human and less

monster.  Also it adds more urgency to the possible danger Stephano and Trinculo

bring, but the comic aspect remains because the two are drunk.


        My second suggestion addresses the issues of Prospero and tempests.  At

the end of the play there is the opportunity for great suspense.  The

interaction between Prospero and his brother and conspirator could be much more

intense.  You could easily create an internal conflict for Prospero where he

debates whether or not to take action against Antonio.  Of course he cannot have

given up his powers at this point.  Instead of just letting Antonio alone

Prospero could use his magic to give him pains, make him small or one of many

other whimsical tricks to teach Antonio a lesson; I think that causing Antonio

to sleep and in turn not taking him home would be the most fitting punishment.

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If need be Prospero could discuss it with the king, possibly in this way:


        Prospero:      Have you a moment my lord?


        Alonso:        Of course, what brings you?


     Prospero: As you know my brother Antonio caused my daughter and myself to

be stranded upon this isle for these many years.


        Alonso:        Ay, a fact that I myself apologize for.


        Prospero:      Thank you my lord but 'twas not your fault.  My evil

brother alone deserves the punishment for the wrong acted against me.


        Alonso:        And you would like to act out the sentence.


     Prospero: You are a wise man my liege.


     Alonso: What do you propose my good duke?


        Prospero:      With my powers I could cause him to fall into a harmless

sleep until we have left this isle without him.  This would be a most fitting



        Alonso:        That it would, but would you allow such a fate to befall

your kinsmen?


        Prospero:      I do not wish to do such a thing but the rage inside me

demands that action be taken against him.


        Alonso:        Keep your heart at ease my son.  Action will be taken,

he will be ridiculed and you will be reinstated in your rightful position.


     Prospero: I wish for action to be taken now.  It burns within me that he be



     Alonso:  I cannot control you my son, but I advise that you let him be.

Though, if with you great powers you were to take some action against him you

would be the only one to know.


After this scene has been inserted I think that at some point a great storm

should form around Antonio only to die down when Prospero regains his composure.

In the fashion the theme of tempests would be enhanced and also the suspense

would be greatly increased bringing the audience more into the moment.  Also, it

would take reduce the feeling that Prospero is an old man lacking strength or

great personality.


     As your assistant I bring you these suggestions.  I understand that you are

one of the greatest playwrights to ever live and hope that you take these

suggestions with an open mind.  In my opinion these changes would greatly

improve the impact of the play and think that though ideas not perfect or

definitely worth your consideration. 

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