Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad App Poster Image
Social reading app for mature-themed play.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to appreciate and understand Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. They'll read the text of the play and hear it dramatically read. They'll also be able to develop an understanding of the play by reading commentary and analysis from Shakespearean experts and discussing it in study groups accessible through the app. Kids will find many resources to deepen their understanding of Shakespeare and The Tempest and its characters. Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad packs a college-level course into an affordable iPad app.

Ease of Play

Navigation is well designed, and the ABOUT section includes a detailed HOW TO USE tutorial.


Shakespeare's play revolves around plots to murder one of the main characters, and there is an allusion to attempted rape.


A budding romance between two characters evolves throughout the play. Discussions include protecting a character's chastity. And, as is typical of Shakespeare, there's some sexual innuendo and double entendre.


Feuding characters hurl insults at each other in flowery Shakespearean language like "you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two characters are drunk through much of the play, which serves as an important plot device.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shakespeare's play, The Tempest, is not for young children. Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad includes the full text of the play with audio capabilities so students can hear the play performed as they read. The play features drunk travelers washed upon an island by a tempest, and plots to murder several characters. All is well in the end, though, in this "Brave New World that has such people in't."

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What's it about?

SHAKESPEARE'S THE TEMPEST FOR IPAD includes the full text of the play, audio of the play performed by actors on the London Stage, and tools and resources to promote social reading and discussion of the play. Teens can annotate the play within the app and share their notes with a study group or Facebook group, if desired. They can also read commentary from Shakespeare experts. The app includes links to even more resources to help students better understand and appreciate The Tempest.

Is it any good?

This well-developed resource brings a college-course discussion and lecture to the iPad. The commentary, offered by more than 20 professors from institutions like Bryn Mar, University of Notre Dame, Harvard, and more, actually exceeds what students would encounter in an undergrad course discussion facilitated by one instructor. There is also commentary from actors who have brought the characters to life on stage. Students can take notes while reading the commentaries or reading the play or annotate directly within the text. They have the option of sharing their notes with a study or discussion group. Students can also create a customized MyPath selecting specific parts (or roles or themes) within the play to view for essay writing, test preparation, or part rehearsal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage teens studying The Tempest in school to explore the resources and commentary as a supplement to their class discussions.

  • Talk about the family relationships in the play -- Prospero and Caliban; Prospero and Miranda -- and how similar or different the relationships are to others.

App details

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