It is often said that the classic 50s movie Forbidden Planet is basically just a remake of The Tempest, Shakesepeare's last play. (The original credits don't reference this.)

Is this right? What are the specific parallels between the characters and events in the movie and play?

2 Answers 2


It's my understanding that Morbius, the scientist in Forbidden Planet who is alone save for his daughter, is a reflection of Prospero, the anti-hero of Shakespeare's play who is likewise living alone on an island with his daughter. Both Morbius and Prospero seek to control the elements, and thus the world around them, through 'magic' - in Morbius' case, an advanced alien technology.

In both versions of the story a group of young men (sailors swept in by the tempest of the title, a space crew on a routine mission) enter this supposed utopia, only to cause upheaval and eventual destruction when the leader of said groups falls in love with Morbius/Prospero's daughter.

One other factor that surely reveals the origins of Forbidden Planet's storyline is the inclusion in both versions of a cook for comic relief, this character being a drunken buffoon in both versions.


There is an excellent paper written on the topic. This document can be located at the following reference:

"Comparison of Shakespeare's Tempest and Forbidden Planet." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Feb 2012

  • 9
    Your answer would be better if you summarized the paper or even just included some of the key arguments as block quotes. Looks like an interesting (if appallingly formatted) paper.
    – matt_black
    Feb 22, 2012 at 13:17
  • Thanks. I felt that maybe just the link might be too brief. Feb 23, 2012 at 4:15
  • "... they (the Krell) had left behind their physical bodies in exchange for computers." Totally incorrect interpretation. According to the film's dialog, the Krell created a mind controlled machine that manifested in reality whatever their individual minds desired. Unfortunately for the Krell, the primitive emotional subconscious part of their minds could also access and control the machine which eventually led to their annihilation.
    – user7101
    Dec 10, 2013 at 17:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .