Teachers often ask me how to justify teaching a Shakespeare play in an American Literature class.
My answer is simple: Teach The Tempest. Many scholars believe that The Tempest was inspired by the real-life shipwreck of the Sea Venture off the coast of Bermuda in 1609 on its way to Jamestown. The account of that incident written in a letter by William Strachey reached England in 1610. Scholars believe that Shakespeare wrote The Tempest soon afterwards. In addition, the plays deals with different views of Colonialism–a good stopic for classroom discussions.
If any of you teach The Tempest, please add your comments below.