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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds Before we explore further the themes of The Tempest, let’s look at some of the vocabulary James used. 12 years ago, Antonio did something terrible. He tried to kill his brother, Prospero. So Prospero had to escape to the island with his daughter. But now, Prospero has the power over Antonio. A lot of the play is about Prospero deciding what to do. James says– But he’s basically debating whether or not to take revenge on them. To take revenge means to do something bad to someone, because they’ve done something bad to you. In fact, in the end, Prospero decides to be kind and not to take revenge on them.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds James says– But he’s basically debating whether or not to take revenge on them and, instead, is learning that he needs to forgive and show mercy. To forgive someone means to stop being angry with someone who has done something bad. Prospero forgives his enemies. Because they seem sorry, and it was a long time ago. He decides to show mercy. If you show mercy, you’re kind and don’t punish someone even though you could if you wanted to. So we have three expressions– to take revenge on someone, to forgive someone, and to show mercy to someone.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds Now, you can discuss what you thought about the end of the story and if you think Prospero was right to forgive his brother and show mercy, rather than take revenge.

Vocabulary: revenge or mercy and forgiveness?

Anthony explains some of the vocabulary from the video in the previous step:

What do you think?

At the end of The Tempest, Prospero forgives Antonio for betraying him. And he forgives the three drunks who planned to murder him. He decided it was better to forgive and show mercy, rather than take revenge.

  • Do you think he made the right decision? Why? Why not?
  • How easy do you find it to forgive a person?

Share your ideas with other learners.

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This video is from the free online course:

Exploring English: Shakespeare

British Council