It is also interesting to read of the different productions through the centuries, and the way that the concerns of the time affect the interpretation and staging of the plays. Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree's 1904 adaptation is noteworthy, for example, not only because of his approach to Caliban but also because of how he dealt with the opportunity for special effects and his re-structuring of the play into three acts.
The truth is that if we're looking for anyone in "The Tempest", it shouldn't be Shakespeare, it should be ourselves.
And so we do. Shakespeare is clay that we mould to our own image, our tabula rasa on which we write the prejudices, the dreams, the prevailing fashions of thought. There is no interpretation so outlandish some director, or academic, has not thought of it. His canon is like the woodcutter’s magic purse and as soon as we have emptied it of all possible worth we look inside once more and find fresh coppers inside.
Perhaps it is that malleability that makes Shakespeare endure. That, and the majestic poetry that far outstrips the philosophy. Perhaps also we should not try so hard to make his plays deeper than they are.
If you're into Shakespeare and the RSC in particular, read on