Shakespeare and Magic

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 43

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the magician Prospero conjures up a storm, charms his daughter to sleep, and uses his power to control Ariel and other spirits. Is this magic for real, or is Prospero pulling off elaborate illusions?
 
Fascinated by this question and by Prospero’s relinquishing of magic at the play’s end, Teller (of the magic/comedy team Penn & Teller) co-directed a production of The Tempest with Aaron Posner at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2015.
 
In this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited, Teller joins Barbara Mowat, director of research emerita at the Folger and co-editor of the Folger Editions, to talk about magic in The Tempest and other Shakespeare plays, as well attitudes about magic in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England.
 
Teller and Mowat are interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.
 

From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © March 8, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved.
 
This podcast episode is called “Enter Prospero in His Magic Robes, and Ariel.” It was produced by Richard Paul.  Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington.  
 
We had help from Melissa Marquis at NPR in Washington, Rick Andrews and Casey Morell at Nevada Public Radio in Las Vegas, and Steven Martin at KPCC in Los Angeles.
 
Interested in seeing images from the books mentioned in this podcast episode? Visit the Folger's Shakespeare & Beyond blog.