Shakespeare – Module 4: Shakespearean Comedy- The Tempest – 1 of 3

Hello Year 7 and Year 8! You have spent the last few sessions looking at ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. You should be developing a good understanding of comedy in Shakespeare. In the next few sessions, we are going to look at a new play. The play is called ‘The Tempest’ and is a tale of wizards, magic, monsters and love!

WHAT: developing our understanding of the plot of ‘The Tempest’

By the end of this session you will be able to:

✓ summarise the plot (storyline) of ‘The Tempest’

Today you will need:

✎ A pen
☰ A word document, notepad or paper to record your ideas

STARTER- YOU DO: What can you remember about the features of a Shakespearean comedy? Read through the features below and decide if they are a feature of Shakespearean comedy. Write down your answer and then click to check if you are correct.

1. Theme of love
True or False?

True- Shakespearean comedies often contain the theme of love

2. Theme of war
True or false?


3. Mistaken identities
True or False?

True- there is often lots of confusion, disguise and mistaken identities

4. Death
True or False


5. Complex plots
True or False?

True- the storyline of a comedy is often complicated with lots of different things happening

6. A happy ending
True or False?

True- everything always turns out alright in the end!

Before we start looking at the plot, let’s think about some of the characters in ‘The Tempest’. Click on this link to read about the characters. You can even take a quick test to check your understanding.

We will now focus on the plot of ‘The Tempest’. It is important that we understand the main events and characters in the story. It’s a tricky plot so don’t worry if you feel confused! Just try to understand the story and think about why audiences might find this play funny.

YOU DO: CHOOSE at least one of the links/ videos below to help you to understand the plot of the play. There are different options so that you can choose the one you find most helpful. The more you look at, the better your understanding will be!

1. BBC Teach: This link will take you to 8 short animated episodes which will teach you the plot and characters of the play. They are simple cartoons but summarise the plot well. You can also revise the characters once you have watched the episodes.

2. Royal Shakespeare Company: Click here for a short video which explains the plot. You can also read a plot summary.

3. Royal Shakespeare Company Learning Zone: This website will teach you the plot and characters in the play. Click on ‘STORY’ and ‘CHARACTERS’ to find out more.

4. BBC Bitesize: Click on this link for a short video and summary of the plot.

5. Storyboard: Click on the link below to look at a storyboard of the play.

CHALLENGE: If you want to read some of the script, click on this link for the full text!

Show your understanding:

YOU DO: Answer the questions below to check your understanding of the plot and character. Write your answers on paper and then click to reveal each answer.

1. Why do Prospero and Miranda live on a magical island?

They were left to drown in a boat by Prospero’s brother Antonio. The boat washed up on an island.

2. Who is Ariel?

A magical spirit who Prospero saved from a tree and made his servant.

3. Who is Caliban?

A creature who lives on the island. Prospero has made him his slave.

4. Who does Prospero make fall in love?

Miranda and Ferdinand

5. Who does Caliban try to persuade to kill Prospero so he can take over the island?

The two servants- Trinculo and Stephano

6. At the end of the story, how does Prospero change?

He gives up his magic and vows to stop seeking revenge.

7. How does the play end?

Prospero reveals himself and they all return to Naples. Ariel is freed.

Well done! You should now have an understanding of the main characters and basic plot of ‘The Tempest’. Next session, we will start to look at the features of comedy in the play. Perhaps you could go and tell someone at home about the story of ‘The Tempest’…