Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Note to The Tempest, 3.3.17 "PROSPERO on the top"


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The Tempest,
Act 3, Scene 3, line 17
     The idea of the stage direction, "PROSPERO on the top, invisible," is clear: Prospero has arranged to have Ariel stage a magical pageant for Prospero's enemies, and Prospero is supervising everything from some very high vantage point.

     In a movie version Prospero's vantage point could be a bluff above a beach, but it's not clear to us just where it would be in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. To me, it seems that the most likely place would be the second-floor gallery (in the drawing below, labeled "Chamber, with Tarras in front"), which is often referred to as "Juliet's balcony" because of the famous scenes staged there in Romeo and Juliet.

     However, I believe that most editors of Shakespeare think, because of the word "top," that Prospero must appear somewhere higher up. The most likely candidate for that place would be the third floor gallery (in the drawing below, labeled "Music Gallery"), but if that gallery was indeed a "Music Gallery" the musicians would be there, playing the "Solemn and strange music" the scene requires. It could be that this would be appropriate, since both Prospero and the musicians are imaginatively invisible.
Globe Theater with music gallery