The Tempest Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

A storm strikes a ship carrying Alonso, Ferdinand, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Stephano, and Trinculo, who are on their way to Italy after coming from the wedding of Alonso’s daughter, Claribel, to the prince of Tunis in Africa. The royal party and the other mariners, with the exception of the unflappable Boatswain, begin to fear for their lives. Lightning cracks and the mariners cry that the ship has been hit. Everyone prepares to sink.
Miranda and Prospero stand on the shore of their island, looking out to sea. Miranda asks her father to do anything he can to help the poor souls in the ship. Prospero assures her that everything is all right and then informs her that it is time she ...view middle of the document...

Before Prospero came to the island, a witch named Sycorax imprisoned Ariel in a tree. Sycorax died, leaving Ariel trapped until Prospero arrived and freed him. After Ariel assures Prospero that he knows his place, Prospero orders Ariel to take the shape of a sea nymph and make him invisible to all but Prospero.

Miranda awakens from her sleep, and she and Prospero go to visit Caliban, Prospero’s servant and the son of the dead Sycorax. Prospero sends Caliban to fetch firewood. Ariel being invisible leads the awed Ferdinand. Miranda and Ferdinand are immediately smitten with each other. Prospero is happy to see that his plan for his daughter’s future marriage is working, but decides that he must upset things temporarily. He accuses Ferdinand of merely pretending to be the Prince of Naples and threatens him with imprisonment. When Ferdinand draws his sword, Prospero charms him and leads him off to prison, ignoring Miranda’s cries for mercy.
On another part of the island, Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, and other lords give thanks for their safety but worry about the fate of Ferdinand. Ariel appears, invisible, and plays music that puts all but Sebastian and Antonio to sleep. Antonio persuades Sebastian that the latter will become ruler of Naples if they kill Alonso. Sebastian is convinced, and the two are about to stab when Ariel causes Gonzalo to wake with a shout. Everyone wakes up, and Antonio and Sebastian concoct a ridiculous story about having drawn their swords to protect the king from lions.
Prospero puts Ferdinand to work hauling wood. Ferdinand finds his labor pleasant because it is for Miranda’s sake. Miranda, thinking that her father is asleep, tells Ferdinand to take a break. The two flirt with one another. Miranda proposes marriage, and Ferdinand accepts. Prospero has been on stage most of the time, unseen, and he is pleased with this development.
Alonso, Gonzalo, Sebastian, and Antonio grow weary from traveling and pause to rest. Antonio and Sebastian secretly plot to take advantage of Alonso and Gonzalo’s exhaustion, deciding to kill them in the evening. Prospero, invisible to the men, causes a banquet to be set out. As the men prepare to eat, Ariel appears like a harpy and causes the banquet to vanish. He then accuses the men of supplanting Prospero and says that it was for this sin that Alonso’s son, Ferdinand, has...

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