Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hart, Jonathan 2009. Shakespeare. p. 99.

  • Print publication year: 1987
  • Online publication date: March 2007

The 'Aeneid' in 'The Tempest'


Even those sympathetic to source studies may well feel that enough has been said about the sources of The Tempest. More than most of the plays, it seems to be a rich confluence of elements drawn from Shakespeare’s diverse reading, conversation, and theatrical experience. So many things float to the surface here: contemporary excitement over the exploration and colonization of the New World; bits of Italian and Spanish history and fiction involving usurpations, flights, islands, and returns; scenes and techniques from the ongoing human comedy of commedia dell’arte improvisations; some of Montaigne’s reflections on nature and society, anger and restraint; and a fascination with magic, man’s power to influence, and perhaps control, nature outside and inside himself and others, by the power of his ‘art’. Yet no one of these predominates, or presents a sufficiently strong matrix of incident and character to constitute a primary source. Kenneth Muir spoke for many readers, I suspect, when he concluded that, whatever the variety of his materials, ‘it seems . . . likely that for once he [Shakespeare] invented the plot’.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Shakespeare Survey
  • Volume 39: Shakespeare on Film and Television
  • Edited by Stanley Wells
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053167
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *