The Tempest is said to be the last play written by William Shakespeare. It is a remarkable play containing wonderful verse and the themes of repentance and reconciliation. There is a violent storm, a shipwreck and a beautiful love story of Miranda and Ferdinand.
Summary of The Tempest
Prospero is a sorcerer with incredible supernatural power, living on an island with his, young and beautiful daughter Miranda. Twelve years ago, Prospero was the Duke of Milan, but his brother, Antonio, forcibly assumed control and ousted him. Presently, in an act of retribution against Antonio and his co-backstabber, Lord Alonso of Naples, Prospero raises a rough storm, causing the ship carrying them and a few others to wreck on the island. As they watch the tempest pulverize the ship, Prospero discloses to his girl that he invoked the tempest to bring Antonio and Alonso to the island with the end goal to get vindicated. He discloses to her how they were expelled from Milan and how they sailed on a little-spoiled ship with his books of magic until reaching the island. Miranda is astonished by the story yet asks for the tempest to be halted. Prospero guarantees her that everybody will survive, and causes her sleep with his magic power.
Ariel Demands Freedom
Ariel, Prospero’s spirit servant, appears. He demands the freedom Prospero had promised him in return for his help in conjuring the tempest. Prospero denies his request and asks him that he his tasks are not complete yet. He commands him to become invisible again to perform the next tasks he has in mind.
Miranda awakens. Prospero calls his slave, the gigantic Caliban, to bring firewood. Caliban curses Prospero in all the manners in which he can think, clarifying how he feels rightly entitled to rule the island since her mother, the witch Sycorax, ruled there before Prospero arrived. He has indeed, even attempted to assault Miranda in reprisal, but can’t break Prospero’s magical power hang on him.
Miranda and Ferdinand Fall in Love
Ariel, invisibly, plays delightful music and draws Ferdinand—child of King Alonso, into Prospero and Miranda’s sight. He has been isolated from the rest of the party and believes they are all dead. Ferdinand and Miranda experience passionate feelings and they fall in love at first sight.
Prospero is very happy to see this. But he wants to test Ferdinand’s love for Miranda. For the purpose, he pretends that the young man is a spy. He sets Ferdinand the task of piling up heavy logs. Miranda’s steals out her room to see Ferdinand at work.
Miranda declares her love to Ferdinand, and they decide to marry. Ferdinand acknowledges. Prospero watches all this, concealed by the young darlings, and delights in the couple’s engagement.
Sebastian Attempts to Murder Alonso
On another part of the island, King Alonso grieves his child Ferdinand, who he believes to have drowned. Ariel appears, still undetectable, and calms lulls everyone to sleep aside from Antonio and Sebastian, King Alonso’s brother. Antonio persuades Sebastian to slaughter Alonso with the goal that Sebastian can be a king himself. Sebastian has just raised his sword to kill Alonso when Ariel wakes everybody up. Antonio and Sebastian pretend that they were shielding the ruler from wild beasts and everybody trusts them.
In the meantime, Trinculo and Stephano, a court jokester and a butler, have also been isolated from the rest of the gathering. Stephano has spared a few jugs of wine from the ship and has been drinking a great deal. They discover Caliban and give him wine. A little smashed himself, Caliban sees a chance to dispose of Prospero. He pronounces himself a slave to them and their “heavenly alcohol”; soon they plot to murder Prospero and rule the island themselves, with Stephano as their new lord.
Back with Antonio and company, Prospero sends spirits to set out a delicious feast. Similarly, the meantime going to eat, Ariel appears as a shrew (a brutal flying animal) and influences the meal to vanish. He proclaims their wrongdoings against Prospero and vanishes, leaving them alarmed and guilty.
Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano go to Prospero’s cave to slaughter him, however, Ariel diverts them by making fine clothes to appear on the trees and brambles surrounding them. Trinculo and Stephano begin to battle once again the garments, and Caliban shouts at them to get on with the murder. In the end, Ariel and Prospero gather spirits in the state of savage dogs and hounds to chase them away.
Alonso and Antonio Repent
Prospero then has Ariel carry all the wrecked men to him. He uncovers himself as Antonio’s brother, then bringing out Ferdinand to show Alonso that his child is live. Alonso pronounces his apology at having helped to overthrow Prospero and favours the marriage designs of Ferdinand and Miranda. Prospero chooses to pardon Antonio as opposed to correct more retaliation and shows everybody that the ship is repaired and prepared to sail. He, then, reports that he will come back to Italy to rule Milan afresh and ritualistically break his magic wand to illustrate his renunciation of doing magic.
Prospero Releases Ariel
At last, Prospero sets Ariel free from servitude. He also leaves Caliban in the possession of the island. The play ends with Prospero’s speech to the audience asking them to show their enjoyment of the play by sending the actors on their journey with applause. Ariel raised favourable winds in the sea which helped Prospero and the company to sail to Milan. This was his last service to his master.
Questions and Answers of The Tempest
Question No.1 Who was Ariel and how did he come to be Prospero’s servant?
Answer:- Ariel was a spirit and a servant of Prospero. He had been captivated by a witch named Sycorax in the heart of a pine tree and she had died before releasing him. When Prospero arrived on the island and saw him, he released Ariel by the power of his magic. In this way, Ariel became his devoted servant.
Question No. 2 Who was Caliban? How did he look like?
Answer:- Caliban was the servant of Prospero. He was also the son of dead Sycorax. He had more features of a fish than that of a man.
Question No.3 What did Miranda ask Prospero to do?
Answer:- Miranda asked Prospero to stop the storm that had put the ship in danger. She pleaded with her father because the cries of the drowning sailors were knocking against her merciful heart.
Question No.4 What did Prospero say he raised the tempest for?
Answer:- Prospero told Miranda not to be afraid and assured her not a single person should perish in the sea. He said that he had raised the tempest for his beloved daughter’s sake.
Question No.5 Why did Prospero leave the management of the state to Antonio.
Answer:- Prospero was the Duke of Milan. Knowledge was his chief aim. Wealth and worldly possession hardly mattered to him. He wanted to devote most of his time for secret studies. Moreover, he thought his brother was loyal to him. So, he left the management of state affairs to Antonio.
Question No.6 Who helped Antonio to seize the throne?
Answer:- Antonio’s soldiers, the king of Naples and other ministers who were bribed by the Antonio helped him to overthrow Prospero and seize the throne of Milan.
Question No.7 What did Antonio’s soldiers do.
Answer:- His soldiers dragged Prospero with his daughter out of a palace. They did not dare to kill them openly. So, they put them in an old and damaged ship to perish at sea.
Question No. 8 How did Gonzalo help Prospero?
Answer:- Gonzalo was very loyal to the dethroned duke. He helped Prospero by secretly storing the boat with some necessary items like fresh water, food, clothes and Prospero’s precious books which Prospero valued more than his Dukedom.
Question No.9 Who was in the ship that was caught in the tempest?
Answer:- The tempest had in a strange manner brought all the enemies of Prospero to the island. The people who were caught in the ship were Antonio, Ferdinand, the king of Naples, Gonzalo and the crew.
Question No.10 What did Ariel remind Prospero of, when Prospero mentioned more work?
Answer:- When Prospero mentioned more work, Ariel reminded him of his promise that he had made with him which was to give Ariel his liberty.
Read Also: The Tempest II
Watch the video to learn about The Tempest-I