Themes, Symbols, and Motifs in The Tempest

Updated: 12/19/2018
Themes, Symbols, and Motifs in The Tempest
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Tempest Lesson Plans

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

The Tempest is often considered to be the last work that William Shakespeare wrote by himself, without collaboration. It is an enchanting play to read and watch, as Prospero wields his magic powers, aided by the fiery spirit Ariel, to right a wrong done to him by his own brother 12 years before. The play is also very funny, in a humor that still stands even with today’s students. The play covers important themes such as illusion vs. reality, revenge, discovery, and redemption.


The Tempest

Storyboard Description

The Tempest Themes | Tempest Shakespeare

Storyboard Text

  • EXAMPLE
  • THE TEMPEST
  • ARIEL AND HIS MUSIC
  • MONSTERS
  • THE CHESS GAME
  • The storm is a catalyst for this plan to unfold. Alonso realizes he needs to make amends for his deeds, and the treacherous natures of Antonio, Sebastian, and Caliban are revealed. It is a method of revenge, but it leads to the redemption of all of the characters.
  • Ariel is a tool for Prospero to use to complete his work. He also represents the ultimate freedom that Prospero hopes to have. Ariel manipulates characters with his music. He also warns Prospero of danger. Without Ariel, Prospero’s plan would never succeed.
  • When Stephano and Trinculo stumble upon Caliban hiding, they mistake him for a fish-like monster, calling him “Monster” throughout the play. Stephano and Trinculo turn into monsters, plotting to kill Prospero and marry his daughter. Love of power turns Antonio into a monster against his brother.
  • Alonso wishes their children were alive and King and Queen of Naples. Prospero reveals Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess, where the sole purpose is to capture the king. He captured the King of Naples and restored he and his daughter to their rightful places.