The Tempest by William Shakespeare Plot Summary The Tempest takes place on an enthralled island somewhere between Africa and Italy, that has been inhabited by a benevolent magician named Prospero, his daughter, Miranda, a misshapen monster who is a servant of theirs, Caliban, an airy spirit, Ariel, and several other spirits and nymphs. Prospero was the Duke of Milan, until his traitor brother, Antonio, scheming with the King of Naples, Alonso, detained his position. With the help of an honest old Councellor named Gonzalo, Prospero was able to escape with his daughter, and the books that are the source of his magical powers. Prospero and his daughter arrived on the island where they have been living for twelve years. His enemies are now unknowingly heading his way, and he raises a tempest to make things right with them. The storm strikes the ship thats carrying Alonso, his son named Ferdinand, his brother named Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, a butler named Stephano, a jester named Trinculo, and the crew of the ship. During the tempest, a lot of the characters traits are revealed to the reader.
We see Antonio and Sebastian depict their evil by being rude to the boatswain. Their rude actions foreshadow how theyre going to behave in the rest of the play. By contrast, Alonso, Ferdinand, and Gonzalo, behave respectfully, and give up their authority to listen to someone with more proficiency in the matter. It seems as though Prosperos incarcerated servant and chief magical agent, Ariel, carries out virtually every task Prospero needs accomplished throughout the play. We learn that it was actually Ariel who raised the tempest, set fire to the mast, and now has just made sure that they all got safely onto the island and they are separated from each other into small groups. Ariel then reminds Prospero that he was promised freedom if he performed these tasks without complaint. Prospero then chastises Ariel and reminds him that he had rescued him from a long imprisonment at the hands of a witch.
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This is one of the few times where we think Prospero might not be that munificent. Ariel is then ordered to take the shape of a sea nymph and be invisible to all but Prospero. If he completes a few more tasks, he shall be at liberty. Prospero along with Miranda go to visit Caliban. Caliban starts to curse Prospero and Prospero then sends him to fetch firewood. Ariel then comes in leading Ferdinand.
Immediately, Miranda and Ferdinand fall in love, but Prospero claims Ferdinand is merely pretending to be the Prince of Naples. He does this to make it seem that Miranda is harder to get. Ferdinand draws his sword but Prospero charms him and sends him off to collect firewood. Miranda and Ferdinand flirt with one another, and Miranda soon asks him to marry her and he accepts. Prospero listened to all this unseen and was pleased. He welcomes Ferdinand into his family and tells them the wedding will be soon. Ariel is sent for another mission.
Invisible, he approaches the group of Alonso, Antonio, Sebastian, Gonzalo, and other lords. He puts everyone to sleep except Antonio and Sebastian. Antonio persuades Sebastian to kill their sleeping companions. If Alonso was killed, Sebastian would be the King of Naples. As they are about to stab the sleeping men, Ariel comes and wakes Gonzalo with a shout. Everyone wakes up, and they all continue searching for Ferdinand.
They get somnolent from traveling and suddenly see a banquet in front of them (again set up by Ariel).
As they prepare to eat, Ariel comes and makes the banquet vanish. He tells them Ferdinand has been taken. Meanwhile, Caliban is hauling wood when he meets Stephano and Trinculo. Stephano, seeing this deformed monster, believes he needs a drink. All three start drinking and soon become very drunk. Caliban proposes that they kill Prospero, and make Stephano the king of the island.
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As they go off to do that, Ariel comes, playing some music which attracts them. They decide to follow the music before carrying out their plan to kill Prospero. Ariel quickly goes to Prospero and tells him of the inebriated mens murderous plans. A trap is set up for them with dogs and hounds and they are driven away. Ariel summons the king and his company to Prospero and they are all in great incredulity upon seeing Prospero alive. Prospero, however, doesnt intend on hurting them and forgives Antonios sins.
Alonso grants Prospero his kingdom back and exults when he discovers that his son is alive. He approves of the marriage between his son and Miranda and they decide to leave the island in the morning for Italy. Ariel reveals that their ship is alright and is then granted freedom. The insolent trios plot to kill Prospero is revealed. Ariel is asked to do just one more task which is to make sure the sea is calm for the journey to Italy. The play ends with an epilogue wherein Prospero asks the audience to forgive him his wrongs and set him free.
Character Analysis Prospero is certainly the protagonist of The Tempest as his attempt to return to Milan after twelve years of expulsion is the main plot of the play. During the play he proves he is a benign magician, a doting father, a merciful brother, and a fair leader, although there are times in the play where we find he might not be that just. He is a shrewd magician whos always in the pursuit of knowledge. It was his pursuit of knowledge that got him in trouble in the first place. By disregarding matters while he was duke, and instead studying books of knowledge, he gave his brother an opportunity to take over. It is his possession of magical knowledge, however, that gives him plenty of power. The most powerful thing he controls is Ariel.
Ariel has a lot of power, as made known when he performs great tasks such as creating the tempest, and Prospero had enough power to control Ariel which gave him even greater power. Prospero is the ruler of the charmed island because of his magical powers. He can shape and control the island however he likes, and he always seems to know exactly when and where something is going to happen. He had lost his kingdom of Milan but he gained a new kingdom; the enchanted island. The irony lies in that although Prospero is furious with his brother for taking his power, and is flabbergasted that someone can be that cruel, he has no qualms about enslaving Ariel, Caliban or Ferdinand. Prosperos castigations of Caliban are spiteful.
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He is likewise somewhat malicious in his treatment of Ferdinand by imprisoning and enslaving to make sure he is deeply in love with Miranda. It shows that he is very protective of his daughter. He incessantly and slowly makes sure that their love for one another wont fade. Prospero starts to emerge then as more forgiving and sympathetic near the end of the play. He forgives the two people who harmed him the most: Caliban and Antonio. Prospero forgives Caliban despite his plot to kill him. Even worse, Antonio had stolen Prosperos kingdom from him, and set him and his daughter out on a ship to die.
Still Prospero forgives him. He puts his daughters happiness in front of his revenge which shows his affection for her. Prosperos power, care, and mercy got him off the island in the end and he got all that he wanted; the repentance of his enemies, his kingdom returned and he made his daughter happy. Major Motivations Revenge is a strong motivation for Prospero. His revenge, however, is not meant to harm anyone. His main objective is to show them what he had to go through when he was first stranded on the enchanted island. He is also trying to get them to be remorseful and make them feel guilty about their scheme against him so perhaps he will more likely be welcomed when he shows himself.
Caliban also tries to plan his own revenge for being a servant. First, he tries to take Miranda and after that fails, he gets help from the two drunkards and plans to kill Prospero and win the island for himself. Greed is another very powerful motivation in The Tempest. Almost all the characters are driven by greed. Antonio and Sebastian are undoubtedly the greediest because they are willing to kill their own brothers to get the power they desire. Caliban is also driven by greed as he wants to rule the island and uses that as an incentive to try to kill Prospero.
His partners see it as an opportunity to no longer be servants and instead become leaders. They would be willing to go along with him and commit dreadful crimes. Even Prospero, although thought of as moral and modest, regulates the events to gain things for himself. Ariel also is demonstrating some greed, as he is serving Prospero in hopes of buying his freedom. Theme The main themes in The Tempest are charity and reconciliation. Gonzalo is a key example of charity in the play. Initially, Gonzalo aids Prospero, when he is expelled from his kingdom, by providing him with food, drinks, and books on magic. When Alonso bewails that his son is allegedly dead, it is Gonzalo who consoles him by saying the island may yet be nice to them. Prospero also is considerate and forgiving.
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In the end, he demonstrates no vengeance to his enemies but instead amiably forgives them for their wrongdoings, after they ask forgiveness. His enemies have hurt him so much and yet he has no intentions of harming them at all. If we only forgive those who deserve amnesty, mercy would not exist and no one would be forgiven. The comparison of nature and society in The Tempest is another essential subject. Caliban embodies a beast from nature and when compared to the just and civilized Prospero, we can realize the definite differences. However, the villains, Antonio and Sebastian, have been shaped by society and Caliban measures more favourable when compared to these two. A person who is civilized is greater when compared to a crude beast, but a natural beast outshines a wanton outcome of society.
Style Shakespeare chronicles the play through a very poetic style of writing which brings a very happy and enchanting mood through most of the play. At certain times, though, the tone becomes more serious, such as when Antonio and Sebastian plot murders, and the mood can also get quite comical, such as when the reader follows the drunken Stephano. In all the scenes involving interaction between Miranda and Ferdinand, there is a more romantic style of writing. For example, Ferdinand exclaims to Miranda, I, beyond all limit of what else i th the world, do love, prize, honour you (Act.3 Sc.1).
Shakespeares graceful style of writing gives a smooth tone throughout the play..