The Tempest

Feb 27, 1980 on BBC TWO at 12:00 AM

Summary

The Magician, Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, and his daughter, Miranda, have been stranded for twelve years on an island after Prospero's jealous brother Antonio (aided by Alonso, the King of Naples) deposed him and set him adrift with the then-3-... (more)year-old Miranda. Gonzalo, Alonso's counselor, had secretly supplied their boat with some food, fresh water, "rich garments, linens, stuffs and necessaries," and "volumes" (books) that Prospero prizes. Possessing magic powers due to his great learning, Prospero is reluctantly served by a spirit, Ariel, whom Prospero had rescued from a tree in which he had been trapped by the cruel witch, Sycorax, after he had refused to obey her. Prospero maintains Ariel's loyalty by repeatedly promising to release the "airy spirit" from servitude. Sycorax had been exiled from Algiers to the island for wreaking havoc with her magic, and had died before Prospero's arrival. Her son, Caliban, a deformed monster and the only non-spiritual inhabitant before the arrival of Prospero, was initially adopted and raised by him. He taught Prospero how to survive on the island, while Prospero and Miranda taught Caliban religion and their own language. Following Caliban's attempted rape of Miranda, he had been compelled by Prospero to serve as the magician's so-called slave. In slavery, Caliban has come to view Prospero as a usurper and has grown to resent him and his daughter. Prospero and Miranda in turn view Caliban with disappointment, contempt and disgust. Prospero only performs one act of magic himself directly on stage: he disarms Ferdinand, causing his nerves to become "in their infancy again." The rest of his magic is through controlling spirits (or mentioned as happening previously), which is how magicians of the time were believed to operate.

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Twelfth Night, or, What You Will
Season 1 Episode 10

Jan 06, 1980

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The Merchant of Venice
Season 1 Episode 14

Feb 17, 1980