The Tempest

Shakespeare Review: The Tempest, Joseph Story and Cannibalism College

James Hoyle theorizes that the main sources for The Tempest revolves around the Bible story of Joseph and his Brothers in which the spirit of envy and consequent, reconciliation and pardon predominates. This storyline markedly contrasts with the spirit of revenge as related by Michel de Montaigne’s On Cannibals (1580). A possible source of inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Tempest is the news of shipwreck and settlement by British colonizers during the period of American Exploration and Colonialism. There is a sore lack of a specific authoritative Shakespearean sources for The Tempest however, three forwarded suggestions are the Italian commedia dell’ arte, Die Schone Sidea and Jason and Medea.

Although there are commonalities such as shipwreck and the love of a princess for a shipwrecked prince, they do not correspond to the main motifs of The Tempest which include sibling rivalry, forced separation, experience in a new land, providential aid, coincidental reunion with enemy-brother, the test of conscience and the ultimate triumph of the spirit of pardon and reconciliation. These motifs harmonize perfectly with the Biblical story in Genesis of Joseph and His Brothers and therefore can be established as an authoritative source...

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