As I read through the tempest, I'm struck by all the changes and additions that the Folger's Guide has given. Its almost as if they don't trust us to "correctly" interpret the work without them. However I think that some of the beauty of Shakespeare's work is that so much of it is open, that so many options exist. By presenting only one view as the meaning, Folger skews my perceptions enough to question my interpretations of the work, which leads me to believe these "Learning Center Notes" are a curse in disguise.
Folger's glossary can be somewhat helpful in interpreting a word, but it must be used with caution. These definitions range from practical, supplying outdated terms such as "ague: a fever that makes him shiver"(80), to unnecessary when explaining the word 'mind' as "notice" in the context of "I'll fall flat/Perhaps he will not mind me."(76), to downright insulting when words such as"overblown"are updated to "blown over" (82) I believe the reader can be trusted with some degree of interpretation, and responsibility with a dictionary.
However presumtuous these definitions may be, I find Folger's insertion of stage directions to be a complete fraud. He often inserts asides, ruling out all options of having an unusual dialog take place between the characters. With their actions as well, Folger expresses everything from invisibility to drunkenness. On pages 78 and 79, Folger inserts a direction that Trinculo is to crawlunder the cloak with Caliban. This action is then explained in a half-page footnote which shows which textual evidence leads to this conclusion. But if this evidence really is so abundant, and nearby (it falls on just the next page, just 40 lines ahead) why can't the reader be trusted with creating this image by his or herself?
Overall I find Folger's footnotes to be useful, albeit annoying. For every one word or phrase it helps me to identity, there are two I can understand by myself. In the ones I do understand, subtle variations make me wonder if I would see the story differently without these "aids". I think I would.