The settings are a ship and an island: this last one may be located somewhere in the Mediterranean because the King of Naples was travelling to Tunis when the storm hit him. While writing this, Shakespeare was also thinking about the New World and Bermuda. This, together with a series of magical, strange and exotic elements makes the play very theatrical.
Prospero was the rightful Duke of Milan, but he was more interested in philosophy and magic, so he was deposed. His studies in magic gave him magic powers, which he uses to do good things together whit his wand and his robe. Ariel, released from his imprisonment by Prospero, (which means Lion of the Lord, indeed) is a spirit of the air with magical powers, like invisibility and the power to change his appearance. Caliban is the only native of the island and the son of the witch Sycorax. At the starting he seems to be a good character, but later he tries to rape Miranda so Prospero punishes him. He's repulsive and impulsive, but also sensitive. Miranda is not a suffering heroine, she embodies the female perfection.
The Tempest is characterized by serenity in human relationship, indeed there's no tragic ending. The most important themes are:
-Forgiveness: all ends in peace and reconciliation;
- the "magic element" (o element of magic, è equivalente) in its two representation (black and evil magic used by Sycorax and white and good magic used by Prospero);
-The dangers of English expansion. Prospero himself is a symbol for European colonial power
Shakespeare used different levels of speech to describe in many ways his characters. Allegorical scenes, suggestive sounds, music and dances are also included.