The Tempest: "Our revels now are ended."

The Tempest: "Our revels now are ended."

Royal Shakespeare Company

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In Act 4, Scene 1 of The Tempest, Prospero's poignant monologue marks a profound moment that seamlessly breaks the fourth wall, blending the lines between theater and reality. Amidst the celebration of Ferdinand and Miranda's marriage, Prospero suddenly remembers the plot against his life and abruptly stops the merriment to reflect on life's fleeting nature, declaring, ''Our revels now have ended.''

As Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest holds special significance, with some viewing this speech as a moment of introspection for the playwright himself. Throughout the monologue, Prospero's words not only mirror the events on stage but also allude to Shakespeare's role as a playwright. His mention of "the great globe" likely refers to the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare's works came to life, reminding audiences that just as Prospero controls events in his world, Shakespeare, too, shapes the stories we see on stage. The speech also draws comparisons between theater and life, both are full of moments of joy and sorrow that eventually come to an end.

In the 2016 Royal Shakespeare Company production directed by Gregory Doran, Sir Simon Russell Beale's portrayal deeply resonates, bringing a rich layer of introspection and gravitas to the role. His performance encapsulates the wizard's mystery and melancholy, highlighting Prospero's - and potentially Shakespeare's - awareness of nearing his final act, both as a character and a playwright.

Cast & Crew

(Director), Simon Russell Beale (Prospero), Jenny Rainsford (Miranda), Daniel Easton (Ferdinand), Mark Quartley (Ariel), (Writer)

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