The Tempest Essay Topics: Choose the Best One for You

By: Henrique Bertulino

8 min



The Tempest Essay Topics: Choose the Best One for You

If professors assign you to write The Tempest essay, but this academic task seems a bit difficult for any reason, read this article that will clarify the situation for you.

List of The Tempest Essay Topics with Clarifications

Prospero, Caliban, Antonio - who would be the best lord of the island?

Almost every character in the play at different times shows a desire to become the island's lord. Choose a few of them and compare their motives. How does each of them imagine their rule? Who do you think had more power in the play?

The role of Caliban in the play

Is the role of Caliban really nullified at the end of the play? Think about why the author decided to remove this character?

The Moral Side of The Tempest

Morality and justice are topics that run through the Storm, and Shakespeare's attitude to them is particularly interesting. The colonial nature of the play and the ambiguous presentation of justice may even point to Shakespeare's own political views.

Themes of imperialism and colonialism in the play

Use specific examples to analyze how the characters in the play usurp power. What are their motives, what do they want to achieve? Is it related to the colonization of the islanders? Take into consideration The Tempest essays that discuss the same subject to get a better idea of how to outline your literature analysis.

The Tempest: comedy or not?

Strictly speaking, The Tempest is classified as a comedy. However, you will notice that you do not have bouts of laughter while reading or watching. Shakespearean comedies are not "comic" in the modern sense of the word. Rather, they rely on comedy through language, complex love stories, and a false identity. And yet, although The Tempest shares many of these characteristics, it is a completely unique play in the comedy category. Compare it to a classic comedy play like A Midsummer Night's Dream. You will notice that the elements of the tragedy in The Tempest draw the line between these two genres.

The theme of brotherhood and power

Antonio, Prospero, and Alonso - do they have the same thirst for power? Focus on the power struggle between these characters. How does their kingship affect the drive for usurpation of power that they have? Why did Sebastian fail to kill Alonso - the King of Naples?

Element of magic in The Tempest

"The Tempest" is considered the most magical Shakespeare's play. The play opens with a huge magical tempest that can destroy everything around. Magic is used throughout the play by various characters for pranks, control, and revenge, moving the plot forward. How is Prospero magic different from Sycorax?

Prospero - father, friend, or sorcerer?

Prospero in the play has an extremely extensive description. He is depicted in various guises. Think about the significant roles of this character. What role do you think is closest to him?

Is Prospero a positive or negative character?

Prospero, the main character of the play, causes a rather ambiguous attitude. He is the rightful Duke of Milan, but his brother usurped power and sent him on a boat to certain death. But, fortunately, the protagonist survives. In this way, he becomes a victim who tries to get back what rightfully belongs to him. However, in order to achieve his goals, Prospero is often cruel. An example is his unfair treatment of Caliban and Ariel. After such scenes, he looks like a real villain.

The relationship between Prospero and Ariel

Why does Ariel ask if he is in love with the spirit? What does it reveal about their feelings?

Natural and unnatural characters of the play

Pick a few characters that can be described as unnatural and natural. It would help if you explored both their differences and similarities. How do their important characteristics affect relationships between them? Be sure to answer these questions in essays on The Tempest.

Comic scenes with Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano.

Draw parallels between the colonized and the colonizers, compare "men" and "monsters".

How to write an essay on The Tempest?

None of us is born with the knowledge of how to write an essay analysis of a literary work. But, fortunately, these skills can be acquired practically. By reading the relevant literature, you will eventually be able to write excellent essays on the works read. But until you have acquired such knowledge, we offer you a study guide to write a well-constructed literary essay that you can apply to The Tempest.

Step 1: Put a Question

During the study of a literary work in class, the teacher often pushes students to various tips for writing an essay. Take advantage of this and choose one question that interests you the most. An exciting topic will save your time and bring pleasure in the process of working on the essay. If you have been given the task of coming up with the topic of the essay yourself, do not despair. Either you have too many ideas, or you don't have them at all. In any case, you need to calm down and ask yourself the following:

  • What impressed you the most?

Just discard all the extras and write down the first thing that comes to mind after reading the play. Was there something that left a mark on your memory for a long time? It can be the hero of the play, the plotline, or the characters' decision. This can help you formulate a good topic and write a great essay.

Examples of questions:

Why did his brother condemn Prospero to death?

Why did Prospero decide to give up magical powers?

  • Did you notice any patterns or contradictions?

Were there moments in the work that were repeated from time to time? Have there been similar characters? Try to draw analogies and find some inconsistencies - this can be a good hook for the topic of the essay.

Examples of questions:

Why is there only one female role in the play - Miranda, and other women are absent?

Isn't Caliban an ironic reflection of Prospero? (Both heroes were removed from power.)

  • Was there anything that confused you?

Analyze those scenes that you did not fully understand. Be a detective. When you open the case, you will understand why the character did just that.

Examples of questions:

What is the reason for Prospero's expulsion?

Why does Ariel, possessing powerful spells, carry out Prospero's instructions?

At this stage, you have not yet formulated the topic of the essay definitively. You only feel something interesting because exciting major themes grow into discussions, based on which you can develop a really valuable topic for the essay.

Step 2: Formulate a Thesis Statement

In the introduction, you present the topic of the essay, introduce yourself as the author and state your position. The essence of your research paper is to confirm your main idea with strong arguments. This idea is a thesis statement.

Examples of good thesis statements for The Tempest:

  • In an effort to restore justice, Prospero appears to be a hypocrite, as he enslaves Ariel and Caliban to achieve his goals.
  • Miranda and Prospero did not recognize Ferdinand as a full-fledged man because they believed that even education could not overcome his diabolical nature.

Step 3: Gather the Evidence Base and Build Arguments

In the main part, you will do everything to prove your position. Argument paragraphs constitute the main part of your essay.

When writing the main part, follow three basic rules:

  • Start with a topic sentence
  • Pick strong arguments to prove your point
  • Make soft transitions between paragraphs

See how you can build your argument base in The Tempest essay:

  • William Shakespeare leaves women in the play behind the scenes. Recall how Gonzalo describes a society without commerce: "No occupation: all men idle, all. / And women too, but innocent and pure". At first, he seemed to forget about women, but later, he mentioned them separately.
  • Shakespeare's play has a rather subjective and contradictory notion of justice because Prospero in the name of fairness does many wrongdoings.

Step 4: Write the Conclusion

The conclusion exists in order to once again briefly confirm what you said in the introduction and confirmed in the body. In the introduction to the essay you raised an important issue. Conclude the essay so that readers get answers to this question. What new do they know now? How will this help them better understand The Tempest?

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Henrique Bertulino

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I'm a medical doctor and brand manager. The process of getting into Med school and studying at it made me learn and apply many strategies to keep my productivity high while spending less time and effort. As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder. During this period, my interest in neurology and psychiatry, as well as my aspiration to help others, intensified. At Studybay, I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to develop helpful solutions for students and make their study paths more productive and fun.

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