Act by act, scene by scene, eachShakespeare Explained guide creates a total immersion experience in the plot development, characters, and language of the specific play.
Of all of Shakespeare's plays, The Tempest is perhaps the most symbolic. This is admirably explained in this entry in the "Shakespeare Explained" series by Susan Krueger.
Like the other entries in this series, the book begins with lengthy introductory material including a brief biography of Shakespeare, a discussion of the theater during Shakespeare's life, a glossary of literary terms, a chronology, a description of some of the film versions of the plays, notes about the controversy surrounding the authorship of some of the plays, and a discussion of the place of this play in the works of Shakespeare. The Tempest very likely grew from an actual event, and its existence is aimed at a particular audience, the investors in the Virginia Company. Whether the play had the desired effect on that audience is uncertain, but it remains one of the more performed of Shakespeare's plays. The analysis portion of the book discusses the motives of the magician, Prospero and his fellow shipwreck survivors. Prospero is a powerful magician so viewers of the play are often so caught up in the magic that they fail to perceive the motives. This book does an excellent job of explaining each character and his or her circumstances and actions. As in other entries in this series, the analysis is followed by another glossary that consists of terms used in the play itself, a list of source materials, suggested essay topics, a quiz, and an index. English teachers and students alike will appreciate this approach to literary analysis.