The Tempest is a play that seems to welcome interpretation. Perhaps the oddest thing about the ‘welcome’ the play gives to very different readings is that it might have been the least rather than the most accommodating of Shakespeare’s works. It very nearly observes the ‘classical unities’ — one basic action in one place at one time — and such tightness of design might have held the ideas in. As it is, the play has been thought to be about some of the following: government, art and nature, the role of the imagination, the state of the human mind (the idea it all happens in Prospero’s head), revenge, the discovery of America and the nature of colonialism, good and evil, magic, the nature of theatrical illusion.
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