This essay argues that the logic governing the adaptation and early popularity of the revised Tempest stems in large part from the way the play exemplified natural philosophical ideas and projects associated with the Royal Society. I show that the Dryden-Davenant Tempest resembles the new science in its form as well as its content, and that its co-authors staged it to be, among other things, a contribution to the ongoing work of the virtuosi. To demonstrate this, I examine two subjects of experimentation in the play: the origin and nature of language use—especially in its role as a mediator of the passions—and the nature of political obligation. The Tempest revision embodied the cautious and multi-perspectival methodological protocols of the new science while simultaneously proposing means to manage memories of the previous two decades’ political strife.


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pp. 91-118
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