The Tempest, or the Enchanted Island

Shakespeare in Print –  Remaking Shakespeare

#36 John Dryden and William Davenant, The Tempest, or the Enchanted Island (1690)

This adaptation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest was a collaboration between John Dryden, the poet laureate of England, and William Davenant, a playwright and theatre manager. Dryden adapted several Shakespeare plays, and was an important figure in the development of English literary criticism. Davenant also adapted a few Shakespeare plays, and his devotion was such that at times he implied that he was Shakespeare’s illegitimate son. Even though the prologue states that Shakespeare’s power is as “sacred” as a King, and that his “magic could not be copied,” new characters are introduced to alter the plot and enhance the play’s comedy. The Tempest is a play filled with music, and the two adapters further developed this aspect by turning the production into a kind of comic opera. The Dryden-Davenant production proved to be immensely popular on stage and in print, demonstrating the ways in which Shakespeare’s works continued to inspire new creations. First published in 1670, this copy is one of several reprints.

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