Miranda – The Tempest was painted in 1916 by British painter John William Waterhouse. It depicts one of the main characters, Miranda, in what is believed to be Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest, completed in 1611.
Shakespeare’s The Tempest is mainly about The Duke of Milan, Prospero, and his daughter, Miranda, and how they were banished to a remote island by the former’s evil brother. When the brother, Antonio, is close to the island with his allies, King Alonso of Naples and his son Ferdinand. Prospero conjures up a tempest, or storm, to strand them on the island too. He develops a plan to make Ferdinand and his daughter to fall in love to regain his place on the throne. At the end, he does return to Naples, to prepare for his daughter’s marriage.
In Miranda – The Tempest, Miranda is seen at the rocky edges of the island she is trapped in, watching her father’s storm cause the ship her usurping uncle is boarding to sink. This painting is very romanticized, as, in reality, a person would not be out in the open during a violent storm. Although this isn’t typical or safe at the very least, Miranda does not seem to be disheveled or soaking. Her hair is a little ruffled, but she has balance on the rocks and her dress isn’t flying too much. Nonetheless, we do get an intense mood from the setting. Waves are crashing on the rocks and the ship is about to flip over. What seems to be a post from the ship has washed up along the shores of the island. This seems like a climatic moment right before the vessel is about to perilously meet the island, and of course Miranda is present.
As unrealistic as this painting seems, The Tempest is fiction itself and Waterhouse worked to create an appropriate setting for a very important scene in the play.