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^^^^^^^^^^WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: THE AUTHOR AND HIS TIMES When Shakespeare w rote The Tempest, he was approaching theend

of a long, productive, and highly su ccessful career in thetheater. He was respected by his fellow playwrights, and waspossibly the most popular playwright of his day though hisconsiderable reputa tion wasn't nearly as dazzling as it is now.Today, of course, few people would a rgue that the world hasproduced a greater writer, in any language, than WilliamS hakespeare. Yet when it comes to his life, we don't have agreat deal of informa tion, and guesswork outweighs the facts. Actually, however, we do know more fa cts about Shakespearethan about most of the other dramatists of Renaissance Engl and.Unfortunately, those facts gleaned from some forty documentsthat name Shakes peare and many more that refer to members of hisfamily--don't reveal much. We'r e not even sure of the exactdate of Shakespeare's birth--the first document that mentionshim records his baptism, on April 26, 1564, inStratford-on-Avon, the qu iet village where he was born. Weaccept April 23 as his birthdate since childre n were generallybaptized three days after their birth. Today Stratford hasbecom e a literary shrine to which tourists from all over theworld travel to see perfo rmances by the Royal ShakespeareCompany. Four centuries after his birth, Shakes peare's playsare still performed more than any other playwright's, living ordead . Shakespeare's father was comfortably well-off; he had marriedthe daughter of a wealthy land-owner, and he owned a businessthat dealt in leather goods (such as gloves) and farmcommodities. John Shakespeare also dabbled in local affairs. By 1568 he had risen to the post of high bailiff, the equivalentof mayor; but fo r some reason he dropped out of politics, andsuffered some financial setbacks. We know nothing of Shakespeare's schooling, but it's probablethat as the son of a public official he attended the town'sgrammar school, where he would have rec eived a fine education inLatin. He would draw on his knowledge of Latin rhetori c, logic,and literature in his later playwriting. (Prospero's farewellto his ar t, for example, in Act V of The Tempest, owes somethingto the Metamorphoses of t he Roman poet Ovid.) In 1582Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, who was eight yea rs hissenior. She was pregnant at the time of the marriage, sinceSusanna Shakes peare was born six months later. It wasconsidered permissible, in Shakespeare's England, for engagedcouples to sleep together, so there's no reason to assume i t wasa forced wedding. In 1585 the couple had twins, Hamnet andJudith. Hamnet, Shakespeare's only son, died two years later. Some time after the birth of th e twins, Shakespeare leftStratford for London. There's a tradition that he was forced toleave Stratford because he was caught poaching (illegallyhunting) deer on a local aristocrat's land, but there's no firmevidence to verify this. Accor ding to another tradition, hebecame a country schoolteacher; some people have su ggested thathe worked as a traveling actor. It was time when country townslike Stratford were declining in prosperity. London was themain center of opportunit y for ambitious young men and women, soit's not surprising that Shakespeare went there to seek hisfortune. Nobody knows when or how Shakespeare became involve d in thetheater, but he made a name for himself in a relatively brieftime. By 1 592, when he was just twenty-eight, he was attackedby a rival playwright, Robert Greene. Greene wrote a pamphletin which he sneered at Shakespeare as an "upsta rt crow," a mereactor who, with no university education, had the nerve to thinkh e could write plays. (Attacks on Shakespeare's education wouldcontinue to plagu e him. Even several years after his death, hisgreat contemporary Ben Jonson cou ld accuse him, in a poem that'sotherwise complimentary, of having "small Latin, and lessGreek." Study of the plays, however, proves that this wasn'taltogether j ust.) Shakespeare must have been quite popular bythe time of Greene's attack, be cause it drew complaints, andGreene's editor apologized to Shakespeare in Greene 's nextpamphlet. During his career as a playwright, Shakespeare continued toac t as well, though the profession was considered slightlybeneath anything a real gentleman might undertake. He waslisted in a document in 1598 as a "principal c omedian," and in1603 as a "principal tragedian." In 1594 he became one of thefou nders of a company called the Chamberlain's Men, which heremained with for the r est of his career. When James I took thethrone after the death of Queen Elizabe th in 1603, the companybecame the King's Men. The name change indicated royal s upport:from then on, they enjoyed the official status of servants ofthe King.

All this meant profits for Shakespeare. He earned one tenthof the take at the G lobe Theatre, where the Chamberlain's Menperformed. (He was the only London dra matist who held a sharein a theater.) He bought real estate in Stratford, where he hadbecome a famous native son. In 1597 he purchased a fine housein the town-the house to which he retired not long after hewrote The Tempest. From about 1592 to about 1612 (the dates of most of the playsare conjectures), Shakespeare produced some thirty-seven playsthat are as rich and varied as anything in the b ody of worldliterature. They're remarkable for the beauty of their verseand for the intensity and nuance with which Shakespeare delvesinto the psychology of hi s characters. In addition, their widerange is amazing. The First Folio of Shak espeare's collectedworks, published in 1623, seven years after his death, divide dthem into comedies, histories, and tragedies; they range in toneand subject mat ter from the highjinks of A Midsummer Night'sDream to the gentle melancholy of A s You Like It to thepolitical philosophizing of Henry IV to the bitter ironies o fHamlet to the almost unbearable agonies of King Lear. The playsare stunningly profound and complex. But toward the end of hiscareer, Shakespeare began writin g a different kind ofdrama--much lighter, much simpler, much less psychological; youcould almost call these plays fairy tales. (Most critics referto them as "r omances".) But their simplicity is a kind ofpurity--not the simplicity of shallo wness, or of a playwrightwho can't handle anything more difficult, but a simplic ity thatgoes beyond complexity. First Shakespeare wrote Pericles, thenCymbeline , then The Winter's Tale; finally, with The Tempest, heperfected this interestin g form. After he wrote The Tempest, heleft London and apparently retired from t he theater. The lastplays, Henry VIII and possibly The Two Noble Kinsmen, werep robably collaborations with other playwrights. He died inStratford in 1616. F or most of his working life, Shakespeare was associated withthe Globe Theatre. It was an open-air theater located acrossthe Thames from London proper, so that it was out of the city'sjurisdiction. It was round or octagonal; inside, the st agejutted halfway out into the yard. There was a second storyabove the stage th at could be used for a balcony scene, as inRomeo and Juliet, or for the battleme nts in Hamlet; above that,a third story held the musicians' gallery. On the ver y top, aflag waving from a turret announced the day's performance. The cheapes t tickets, at one penny (a day's wage for anapprentice), admitted you to the yar d, where you stood with theother "groundlings" to watch the play. Another penny would buyyou a seat in the upper galleries, and a third would get you acushione d seat in the lower gallery--the best seats in thehouse. Sets were simple, but costumes were ornate. Theaudience was diverse--theater held a position in Shake speare'sEngland similar to the position movies hold today. People ofall social classes went to the theater, so Shakespeare had toinclude something in his plays for everyone. There had to beerudition to appeal to the scholars: there were clowns who madeawful puns, as Trinculo does in The Tempest, for the spectatorsin the yard. And of course Shakespeare had to be careful thatnothing he wrote wou ld offend the King, for whom the King's Menperformed at court. For example, Sha kespeare had to besensitive in his presentation of Prospero as a magician. Jame sI considered himself an authority on magic, and if Shakespearehad seemed to end orse black magic he could have landed injail. Since the Globe was an open-air theater, it couldn't be usedduring cold weather. During the winter, the King's Menperformed at court or in one of London's indoor theaters. In1608, Shakespear e and six partners took over the BlackfriarsTheatre, which was much more like th e theaters we're used to: alarge indoor room, artificially lit. Admission to t he indoortheaters was more expensive, and the stage machinery was moresophistica ted. The Tempest may well have been acted at theGlobe--the King's Men used both theaters after 1608--but it wasalmost certainly performed at Blackfriars, and t he kind ofspectacle in the play suggests that it was conceived with thesophistic ated indoor theater in mind. The extensive music inthe play also seems more app ropriate to an indoor theater.Music was an important and popular element of Glob eperformances, appealing as it did to every class of spectator;however, in an in door theater you could achieve more subtlemusical effects because the acoustics were so much better.That's probably one reason there's so much music, especially instrumental music, in The Tempest. We know the play was acted at court, becau

se there's a recordof a performance attended by the King at Whitehall Palace onN ovember 1, 1611. This was an early performance, perhaps eventhe first. The pla y is fairly easy to date. It can't have beenwritten later than that 1611 perfor mance, and it can't have beenwritten before 1610, because passages in it rely on the "Bermudapamphlets" (see the section on Sources), which were publishedthat y ear. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: THE PLOT A ship at sea is the victim of a fierce tempest (storm). Theterrified passengers include Alonso, the King of Naples; hi s sonFerdinand; his brother Sebastian; his kind old councilorGonzalo; and Antoni o, the false Duke of Milan. The men don'tknow it, but the storm has brought the m to the island of themagician Prospero (who conjured up the tempest) and his da ughterMiranda. Prospero is the real Duke of Milan. Twelve years earlier, heha d been overthrown by his younger brother Antonio. With thehelp of Alonso and Se bastian, Antonio drove Prospero andProspero's daughter Miranda out of Milan and had them cast outto sea. But divine providence brought them to the island.Prosp ero has two servants: the airy spirit Ariel, through whomhe commands other, les ser spirits; and Caliban, a monster hefound on the island and treated kindly unt il Caliban tried torape Miranda. Now Prospero rules him sternly. Prospero has a plan to deal with his old enemies. He'sseparated Alonso's son, Prince Ferdin and, from the others. WhenFerdinand and Miranda meet, they quickly fall in love . ButProspero wants to make sure that Ferdinand fully deserves hisdaughter, so he tests him with the heavy task of piling athousand logs before sunset. King Alonso, meanwhile, is grief-stricken, because he thinksPrince Ferdinand has drow ned. His councilor Gonzalo tries tocomfort him; Gonzalo believes deeply in divi ne providence,though Antonio and Sebastian jeer at his optimism. These twoplot to kill Alonso and Gonzalo as they sleep, so Sebastian canusurp his brother's cr own just as Antonio stole Prospero's. ButAriel wakes the king and his councilor before the two villainscan drive their swords into them. Two other survivors of the tempest are Stephano, a drunkenbutler who's managed to salvage a keg of w ine, and Trinculo, ajester. They encounter Caliban, and soon all three are roar ingdrunk. Caliban takes these fools for gods who will free himfrom his slavery to Prospero; together they scheme to kill themagician. But Trinculo and Caliban squabble, especially afterAriel starts doing mischief. The invisible spirit ke eps callingCaliban a liar; Stephano thinks the insult comes from Trinculo,and ev entually he pummels the innocent jester. Before they canset their scheme agains t Prospero in motion, Ariel leads themoff with enchanted music, then goes to rep ort the scheme to hismaster. The King's party, discouraged in its search for F erdinand,stops to rest. Ariel and the other spirits prepare a banquetfor the gr oup, but then turn into harpies and snatch it away.As the men look on astonished and terrified, Ariel tells theguilty ones (Alonso, Sebastian, and Antonio) that they're beingpunished for their crime against Prospero. The spirit's voicesend s them into a maddened frenzy. Ferdinand, meanwhile, has passed his test. Aft er Prosperolectures the young man to remain chaste until the marriage, thespirit s entertain the lovers with a masque, in which thegoddesses Iris, Ceres, and Jun o wish the couple a prosperous andhappy life. The masque ends abruptly when Pro spero remembersCaliban's plot on his life and starts up in anger. He and Ariell ure the plotters with expensive clothing. Stephano andTrinculo are so carried a way by the loot that they forget abouttheir scheme. Suddenly Prospero and Ariel unleash the spirits,who attack the conspirators fiercely with pinches and cramp s. Prompted, perhaps, by Ariel, Prospero has decided to forgivehis old enemies . He brings Alonso, Sebastian, and Antoniobefore him, along with Gonzalo and th e rest of the King's party.After removing the spell that had maddened them, he r eveals hisidentity. Alonso quickly asks his pardon, though Antonio andSebastian never really repent. To Alonso's delight, Ferdinandturns out to be not only al ive but betrothed to the lovelyMiranda as well. Ariel leads in the captain of t he ship and theboatswain, who declares that the ship they'd thought was ruinedis --incredibly--in perfect condition (more of Ariel's magic).When Ariel brings in Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo, they're insorry shape from the punishing spirit s. Prospero forgivesCaliban, too. He's decided to give up his magic and return withthe others as the rightful Duke of Milan. After commandingAriel to speed t heir trip, Prospero promises the airy spirit thefreedom he's wanted for so long.

^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: PROSPERO Prospero stands at the very center of The Te mpest. He hasmore lines than any other character. He prompts most of theaction , and he has the last word. He's contradictory, adifficult character to evaluat e. He was once the Duke of Milan, but a love of study led him toleave governin g to his brother Antonio; the treacherous Antoniothen drove him out of Milan. L ater, on his island, he lovinglyeducated the monster Caliban and gave him freedo m. Calibanreturned that kindness by trying to rape Prospero's daughter,Miranda. Prospero makes essentially the same mistake with bothAntonio and Caliban: he fails to keep them in their properplace, and he fails to exercise his responsibi lities. It may bean error on the side of kindness, but it's an error all thesam e, and he and others suffer because of it. It makes him aless than perfect rule r. If Prospero has a lesson to learn, however, he's learned itby the time the play opens. The Prospero you see exemplifieswisdom, justice, and super-human go od judgment. Thisnear-faultlessness has led some readers to regard Prospero as arepresentation, in human terms, of God. Prospero stands inrelation to the othe r characters as God does to humanity:judging, punishing, and forgiving. (Thanks to Ariel, he'sall-knowing too.) But he's an Old Testament God, prone tovengeful fury when he's crossed, and quite willing to look oncalmly while those in his p ower are punished. You could arguethat the sufferings of Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo arecomic; however, there's something cruel in the way Prospero toyswit h his old enemy Alonso, letting him think until the lastminute that his beloved son Ferdinand is dead. (BringingFerdinand back from the dead, so to speak, is G od-like too.) Butif Prospero feels anger, he also overcomes it. Ultimately he's a benevolent figure. Why do you think some readers of this playregard him as ev en more forgiving than a Christian God? An equally popular view is that Prospe ro is a stand-in forShakespeare. Prospero is deeply interested in marrying off hisdaughter; Shakespeare was the father of two daughters, only oneof whom had ma rried when The Tempest was written. Prospero'stime of life is roughly equivalen t to Shakespeare's: he's agingand starting to think about death. Supporters of this theorypoint to the speech (Act V, Scene I, lines 33-57) generallyknown as Prospero's farewell to his art, in which he declaresthat he'll abandon magic whe n he leaves the island. Since TheTempest is probably the last play that Shakesp eare wrote, orwrote alone, and since not long after he wrote it he left Londonfo r a quiet retirement in Stratford-on-Avon, many readers haveinterpreted Prospero 's speech as Shakespeare's farewell to hisown art. These readers say that Prosp ero's magic stands forShakespeare's poetry, and that Prospero's breaking of his wandsymbolizes Shakespeare laying down his pen. But there's anequally adamant g roup of readers who argue that it's unnecessaryto look outside The Tempest for i ts meaning, when there's somuch meaning before you on the page. Prospero is a disturbing, even contradictory mixture ofblanket forgiveness and almost wanton c ruelty--although manywould argue that his enemies deserved harsh treatment. Eve n ifyou accept his vengeful pleasure in tormenting Alonso,Sebastian, and Antonio , you still have to ask: Why does he letkind old Gonzalo suffer too? Why does he nearly break Miranda'sheart by letting her think he hates Ferdinand? It may be thatthese moral and psychological issues are exactly the kinds ofquestions yo u shouldn't be asking about the play. You face afundamental problem in trying t o analyze Prospero (and most ofthe other characters in The Tempest), and this pr oblem stemsfrom the type of work The Tempest is. Late in his career,Shakespeare wrote four "romances"--Pericles, Cymbeline, TheWinter's Tale, and The Tempest-that are much simpler intechnique than his earlier plays, almost like fairy tale s. Theystrive not for psychological depth but for lightness,simplicity, and gra ce. If Prospero isn't as complex a man as,say, Hamlet, it's not because Shakesp eare failed to develop hischaracter adequately, but because he was striving towa rd a verydifferent goal. There is one psychological trait, however, that Shake speareclearly means you to observe, and even condemn, in Prospero,because he wan ts to make a moral point about it. This trait isanger. Late in the fourth act, Prospero interrupts the spirits'pleasant masque when he's suddenly overcome wit h rage at thethought of Caliban's plot against him. Then, early in Act V, headm its to Ariel that he can only forgive his enemies by lettinghis "nobler reason" overcome his all-too-evident "fury." Thisfury, more than any other quality, make

s Prospero aflesh-and-blood human being instead of a stick-figure wise man.But i t doesn't always make him a likable character. You mightthink of the last time you were furious about something in orderto achieve a better understanding of Pr ospero's behavior. Didyou handle yourself better than he did? ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEM PEST: ARIEL The "airy spirit" can assume different shapes (flame, nymph,or ha rpy), and it's through him that Prospero commands thelesser spirits. Ariel is a ll lightness, quickness, and grace.But his foremost characteristic is intelligen ce; he'spractically made of intelligence, and he even moves with thespeed of tho ught. ("Come with a thought," Prospero tells him inAct IV, Scene I.) It's part of his nature--as, perhaps, it'scharacteristic of thought--to be free. Thus, he serves Prosperoloyally but not willingly, in return for Prospero's aid infreein g him from the cloven pine tree, where the witch Sycoraxhad imprisoned him. Ar iel declares in Act V, Scene I, that he doesn't have humanemotions. But his mis chievous streak--which he displays in thetricks he plays on Caliban, Stephano, a nd Trinculo--suggeststhat he has a sense of humor. More importantly, he has a s trongmoral sense. You can deduce this from his harsh speech to the"three men of sin" (Act III, Scene III), in which he stressesthe themes of justice and repent ance. Of course, Prospero couldhave prompted those lines. But you also know, f rom Prospero'sreminiscences in Act I, Scene II, the reason Sycorax imprisonedAri el in the cloven pine: the good spirit was "too delicate" tocarry out her "abho rred commands." Readers looking for concealed autobiography in The Tempesthave sometimes argued that Ariel represents a specific aspect ofShakespeare, usually his poetic genius. Ariel certainly is"creative"; he constructs the situations that Prospero hasdreamed up for various characters. In addition, he's the mostm usical of the characters in a play filled with music--he'sconstantly singing, pl aying, or calling forth enchanted music, afact that adds not only to his charm b ut to his aura of magictoo, especially since so many of his songs are both vague andlovely. If Ariel's personality is hard to pin down, it'sbecause he's so lig ht, so misty. He's meant to be mysterious,because he's a magic being. ^^^^^^^^^ ^THE TEMPEST: CALIBAN The monster offspring of a witch and a devil, Caliban i s awould-be rapist, thief, and killer. Yet it's almost impossiblenot to like hi m. Maybe this is because it's easy to see oneside of yourself in him: who woul dn't rather lie around in thesun than haul firewood and clean the house? One vi ew of Calibanis that he's too innocent, too childlike to be a full-fledgedvillai n. Like an animal, he simply snatches at what he wantswithout thinking about ri ght or wrong. He's generallyunteachable. Prospero's problems with Caliban, in this view,are really his own fault for failing to recognize the monsterfor what he is, and giving him an education that only makes himdissatisfied with his low place in the social order. An opposing view, which Prospero seems to share, re gards the"born devil" as a deeply evil being. It's clear that Calibandoesn't re pent his attempt to rape Miranda; he only regrets thatit was stopped. ("Would't had been done!" he cries in Act I,Scene II.) His lack of any moral sense makes him the opposite ofAriel. In fact, he's almost a negative or anti-Ariel:slow-mo ving, earthbound, stupid, and lazy. He wants freedom notbecause it's in his nat ure but because he hates work. IfAriel's nature embodies freedom, Caliban is by nature a slave.He needs authority because he can't control himself. Those whol ook for autobiography in The Tempest regard him as the darkside of Shakespeare's personality: greed and appetite. Thefact that Prospero keeps him chained in a rocky den may signifythe poet's self-discipline, the way he keeps his desires u ndercontrol. Caliban is also contrasted with Miranda. Prospero carefullynurtu res his daughter; her education turns her into a fine,moral young woman. But Ca liban is a beast "on whosenature/Nurture can never stick" (Act IV, Scene 1); edu cationrolls right off him when it doesn't do outright harm. Finally, Caliban f orms a strong contrast to the real villainsof the play, Antonio and Sebastian. The monster strays intocrime because he doesn't know better. Antonio and Sebast ian,however, do know better; they're noblemen, and their only excusefor their be havior is greed and sinfulness. Perhaps thisexplains why in the last act Shakes peare suggests that thesupposedly unteachable Caliban has learned a lesson: "I' ll bewise hereafter/And seek for grace." As you read you'll note that Caliban is given some of theloveliest poetry in the play. Certainly this is a part of w

hatmakes him so likable: any beast who responds to music withCaliban's sensitiv ity (see the speech in Act III, Scene II)can't be all brute. His poetry also re minds you that, likeAriel, he's a magical being. His coarse cohorts, Stephano a ndTrinculo, speak prose; Caliban's verse is part of theenchantment of Prospero's island. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ALONSO Alonso, King of Naples, was one of the men who plottedagainst Prospero; thus, he deserves his punishment on theisland. But he isn't a villain on the order of Antonio andSebastian. Besides, his par t in the plot seems to have beenmainly political. The deal brought him the annu al tribute thatMilan paid Naples, and you can at least understand themotivations of a leader who seeks wealth for his realm. But themain reasons that Alonso co mes off far better than Antonio andSebastian are that he's grieving deeply for F erdinand--you can'thelp feeling sorry for a bereaved father; and, when confronte dwith his crime he feels guilty, repents, and asks for pardon. Alonso is a pes simist, constantly looking on the dark side ofthings. After the tempest he's ce rtain, although he has no realevidence, that Ferdinand is dead; he refuses to be consoled bythe voices of reason. And when at last Prospero reveals to himthe l iving Ferdinand, his first reaction is worry: What if it'san illusion? In the context of a play whose major emphasis ison divine providence, this pessimism is seen by some as a majorcharacter flaw. Alonso (as Prospero rebukes him in Act V) lackspatience, and patience is a sign of faith in the God who watchesbenevole ntly over human events. Overall, though, many regard Alonso as a good man if n ot agreat one. His love for his son speaks in his favor, as doeshis quick accep tance of Miranda as Ferdinand's betrothed. Likeeveryone else, he's capable of w rongs; however, he's alsocapable of recognizing them, regretting them, and atoni ng forthem. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: GONZALO Gonzalo is the voice of patience i n The Tempest. He probablycomes closer than any other character of the older ge neration torepresenting Shakespeare's idea of a good Christian, becausehe's not flawed with Alonso's pessimism or Prospero's anger.Gonzalo always trusts Provide nce. Even during the tempest he'scalm enough to joke about the boatswain's gall ows-bound looks,and to find a sign of hope in them. It's Gonzalo whoappreciates the miracle of their safety on Prospero's island,Gonzalo who unwaveringly insis ts that Ferdinand is stillalive. Above all, Gonzalo is loyal. When Antonio an d Sebastian plotto murder the King, they know they have to kill Gonzalo too; hew ould never accept Sebastian as King. Later, when Alonso ismaddened by guilt, Go nzalo stands beside him weeping, the mostgrief-stricken of the mourners. His k indness extends even further. He oversaw the actualcasting-out-to-sea of Prospe ro and Miranda, and Prospero, ratherthan feeling bitter toward him, remembers hi s "charity" withfondness twelve years later. Gonzalo provided the clothing,food and fresh water that kept them alive, and the beloved booksthat have allowed Pr ospero to master the spirits. But your picture of Gonzalo might not be as sent imental asall this suggests. Shakespeare had a knack for satirizing gabbyold me n (Polonius in Hamlet is a prime example), and he appearsto have sketched Gonzal o with a hint of a smile. The old mandoesn't deserve the rude jeers of Antonio and Sebastian in ActII, Scene I, but his manner is befuddled and talkative enoug h togive some point to their jokes. His speech about how he wouldrule the islan d (Act II, Scene I) is far more starry-eyed thanpractical, though it's true that he's chattering mainly toentertain King Alonso and distract him from his grief. Inaddition, he gets carried away during his great Act V speech ondivine provid ence, ending with the assertion that everybody hasattained self-knowledge, which is a long way from the truth.These little imperfections make Gonzalo seem more human than heotherwise might. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ANTONIO Antonio is the o bvious villain of The Tempest. He betrayedhis brother Prospero by stealing his dukedom and driving him outof Milan. Once on the island, he plots with Sebastia n to killAlonso and steal his kingdom. He's rude to the boatswain (ActI, Scene I) and to kind old Gonzalo (Act II, Scene I). Despiteall the talk about the imp ortance of repentance, he never sayshe's sorry for anything he's done. In fact, during thereconciliations of Act V he remains silent except for onesarcastic ja b at Caliban. Antonio is a character of little psychological complexity;he's s imply evil. The term "motiveless malignancy," which theEnglish poet Samuel Tayl or Coleridge devised to describe Iago,the villain of Othello, applies equally we

ll to Antonio. If youregard the play from a Christian viewpoint in which Prospe rostands for God, Alonso represents the sinner who repents, andAntonio and Sebas tian represent unrepentant sinners. Theshortcoming with this interpretation is that instead of beingdamned they're forgiven along with everybody else (though i t'sprobable, considering Prospero's threat of blackmail, that he'splanning to ke ep them on a very short leash). Without Antonio and Sebastian, The Tempest rea lly would seemas light as a fairy tale--especially because Caliban, despiteall h is wickedness, strikes audiences as such a funny, likablecreature. Antonio and Sebastian are sour notes--figures ofreal, human evil. By letting them off unrep entant, Shakespearebrings the world of The Tempest much closer to our own imperf ectworld. Evil exists, he might be saying, and sometimes it goesunpunished; we can't say why. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: SEBASTIAN Alonso's treacherous brother Sebastian is to some extent acarbon copy of Antonio--not quite as evil, perhaps, since hemerely follows Antonio's lead in the scheme to kill Alonso.Though Sebas tian, like Antonio, is unrepentant at the end, he'snot as sourly silent. His la st line, accusing Stephano andTrinculo of theft, is hypocritical enough to be fu nny. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: FERDINAND If Antonio and Sebastian are thoroughly evil, then Ferdinandand Miranda are completely good. Certainly they're no more complex psychologically--they resemble the brave, handsomeprince and the beautif ul, sweet princess of a fairy tale. Ferdinand is the son of Alonso and thus he ir to the throne ofNaples. He's a dutiful son, grieving for his father when het hinks he's drowned, and begging his pardon for becomingbetrothed without his per mission when he learns Alonso is aliveafter all. He's courageous enough to draw a sword againstProspero when the magician threatens him, and patient enough top erform the burdensome task of piling a thousand logs when heknows Miranda is the prize. Ferdinand's chastity forms a sharp contrast to Caliban'suncontrolled d esire. (This subject is the substance of hisconversation with Prospero near the beginning of Act IV.) Buthe's not prissy. The young prince is red-blooded enou gh forProspero to have to chastise him (Act IV, Scene I) aboutembracing Miranda a little too warmly. Through their children Ferdinand and Miranda, Alonso andP rospero find a way to heal their old enmity. It's easier forthem to be reconcil ed once their son and daughter arebetrothed. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: MIRANDA M iranda's only experience of people--at least since the ageof three, when she was cast out to sea with Prospero--has beenher father. Thus, she's a bit naive. W hen she first seesFerdinand (Act I, Scene II), she thinks he's a spirit; when sh esees the royal party (Act V, Scene I), she's so overcome bytheir splendor that she's convinced they're "goodly creatures,"even though two of those creatures ar e Antonio and Sebastian.(But since Caliban attempted to rape her, she's learned to hatehim; she clearly has had some experience of evil.) Miranda's innocence is her great charm. She's had the bestof both worlds: a splendid and civilized education without thecorrupting influence of civilization. Because she doesn't knowhow to be coy, she's straightforward about her feelings forFerdinand; this lack of cunning is part of what wins his heart.Overcome by Ferdinand's handsomen ess, she falls in love with himat once. But the way their love is depicted is s o far fromrealistic that you can't condemn her for overhasty judgment:love at fi rst sight is a convention of the literary form knownas a romance. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: STEPHANO Stephano is a coarse, drunken brute. He bullies Caliban an dTrinculo mercilessly, and he has no qualms about joining a plotto kill Prospero , steal his island, and rape his daughter. ButStephano's wickedness shouldn't b e taken too seriously. LikeCaliban, he can be excused for having a low nature. He'sprincipally a comic creation whose job is to give the audiencesome relief f rom the more serious main plot. Stephano is thekind of character whose slapstic k distress makes you laugh. Forexample, when the goblins attack him and his coh orts at the endof Act IV, it's funny, not awful. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: TRINCUL O Trinculo probably says less of real intelligence than any ofShakespeare's ot her jesters, though he does have a jester's earfor a good pun. He always seems to be afraid of something: theweather, Caliban, or Ariel's music. Stephano bul lies him, buthe follows Stephano's lead in a way that parodies Sebastian'srelati onship with Antonio. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: BOATSWAIN The boatswain, the offi cer in charge of the ship's deck crew,is a gruff sailor who's too competent to b

e intimidated by theinterference of Antonio and Sebastian during the tempest.Gon zalo's comments suggest that his appearance is thoroughlydisreputable ("perfect gallows"), but the old man's jokes abouthis blasphemy aren't supported by anythi ng in the text. Hisoaths may have been spoken onstage but left out of the publi shedversion. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: IRIS, CERES, JUNO Prospero's spirits imit ate these three goddesses of Greek andRoman mythology during the masque, in Act IV, for Ferdinand andMiranda. Iris is the goddess of the rainbow and the messen gerof the gods. Ceres oversees the harvest and fertility ingeneral, so her bles sing would be important to a couple who wantchildren. Juno, queen of the gods, is the protector ofmarriage. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: SETTING All the action of The Tempest takes place on (or, in thefirst scene, very close to) the remote is land where Prospero andMiranda have spent the last twelve years. The island mus t besomewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, because Prospero and Mirandawere cast ou t to sea from Italy, and because Alonso's fleet ison its way home to Naples, in Italy, from Tunis, in northernAfrica, when the storm strikes. But the island ha s more incommon with the Bermuda Islands in the Atlantic Ocean than withany isla nds in the Mediterranean. This is because one ofShakespeare's sources was a ser ies of pamphlets that had beenwritten about a recent shipwreck in the Bermudas. (For moreinformation, see the Note about "the still-vexed Bermoothes" inAct I, Scene II.) Popular superstition held that the Bermudas were aswarm withfairies and demons, just as Prospero's island is. Everythingabout the island whispers magic, especially the ever-presentmusic that Caliban describes in his beautiful speech, "Be notafeard; the isle is full of noises" (Act III, Scene II). By set ting the play on an island and limiting his cast to afew characters, Shakespeare lets his themes stand out in sharperrelief. A court setting would be far more complex; Prosperowould have to worry about the influence of current events, anda s head of government he'd have to curb his vengeance and act ina way that appear ed more responsible. The shipwreckedcharacters feel lost and forlorn on the isl and and thus behavewith a straightforwardness that would be more guarded if they were in their normal setting. Once on the island, some of the characters recre ate thesociety from which they came. Gonzalo, for example, is mainlyinterested in preserving the social order by guarding thewell-being of King Alonso. Antoni o, ever the schemer, sees inthe shipwreck a means for upsetting the social order and seizingmore power. Stephano and Trinculo, on the other hand, behave sofree ly and amorally because they think they're outside thelimits of society and have no punishment to fear. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: THEMES 1. PROVIDENCE AND PATI ENCE Prospero tells Miranda (Act I, Scene II) that they reachedthe island "By providence divine"--that is, through the guidanceand benevolence of God. Though there are few direct referencesto God in The Tempest, this highly Christian the me permeates theplay. Ferdinand phrases it briefly in Act V: "Though the seast hreaten, they are merciful." The Tempest is a play about astorm that turns into a blessing. There are times in all ourlives when things may look bleak, even de sperate; but a goodChristian trusts in the wisdom and mercy of God to bring thin gsto a happy end. If Prospero represents the workings of providence (he raises the storm and offers the blessing), Gonzalo is the goodChristian, the man of fai th. (His speech in Act V, Scene I, isthe great summation of the providence them e.) Another name forthis faith is patience: Gonzalo patiently endures doubt and hardship because his faith sustains him. His firm belief in ajust God convinces him that no matter how bad things look,they'll turn out for the best. Alonso, in contrast, is theimpatient man, rebuffing Gonzalo's attempts to console him.Be cause he lacks faith in providence, he insists that Ferdinandis dead and that se arching for him is useless. He refuses tobelieve a just power oversees events, and this doubt signifies alack of trust in God. 2. FORGIVENESS AND REPENTANCE The Tempest is clearly a play about reconciliation. Whatisn't clear is wheth er Prospero intends from the beginning toforgive his old enemies or whether his mercy is a last-minutedecision. The fact that he plans from the first to marryF erdinand to Miranda would suggest that he had planned areconciliation with Ferdi nand's father, Alonso, all along. Onthe other hand, however, you can point to t he anger that gripsProspero until the end; if he were planning to forgive from t hebeginning, wouldn't he already have overcome his anger? Thosewho think he dec

ides only late in the play to forgive, focusespecially on Ariel's description, e arly in Act V, of Alonso andhis party in distress, which may be the turning poin t inprompting Prospero to pity and mercy. But Prospero's words here lead to a further confusion. "Theybeing penitent," he tells Ariel, is all he wanted--whic h isessentially what Ariel told the "three men of sin" in his harshspeech near t he end of Act III, Scene III. Alonso asks forProspero's pardon and expresses re morse for his crimes toMiranda as well. Antonio and Sebastian, however, give no hintthat they're penitent, when even the bestial Caliban isdeclaring he'll "be wise hereafter/And seek for grace." Then why does Prospero forgive these unrem orseful villains?That's one of the mysteries of the play. (Even God forgivesonl y sinners who repent.) It may be that Shakespeare considershumanity so depraved that if you only forgave those who deservedit, then nobody would ever be forgive n. Or he may think thatthe forgiveness itself is what's important, regardless o fwhether the forgiven party deserves it; as Prospero says, "Therarer action is/I n virtue than in vengeance" (Act V, Scene I).But if that's the case, where does justice fit in--isn't it alsoright to punish criminals, especially unrepentant o nes? This isa question to which Shakespeare doesn't provide the answer.What adv ice might you give to Prospero regarding Antonio andSebastian? 3. KNOWLEDGE A ND ORDER Shakespeare uses education to contrast Miranda, who has a"high" natur e, with "low"-natured Caliban. Miranda's educationnurtures her into a fine, mor al, and chaste young woman. ButCaliban, as Prospero complains in Act IV, Scene I, is a creature"on whose nature/Nurture can never stick"; his education onlymak es him dissatisfied with his low status. As Caliban says,his main profit from l earning language is knowing how tocurse. Prospero made the same mistake with C aliban as he had madewith Antonio: he failed to keep them in their proper place s,and his leniency gave both of them a taste for a station higherthan their own. Shakespeare's audience had a highly developedsense of order--the King ruled by divine right, aristocrats werepeople with high natures, and the poor drudged at their lowstation because God intended it that way. Trying to rise aboveyour st ation was doing exactly what got Satan expelled fromheaven. Knowledge, though precious, can be dangerous if it interfereswith order. Adam and Eve ate from th e tree of knowledge becausethey wanted to be "as gods." Prospero, too, lost his dukedombecause he neglected governing for studying. Prospero's bookmay be the s ource of his power on the island, but he must learnthe proper place of knowledge on the scale of values if he is tobe a truly wise ruler. 4. BEAUTY AND VIRTU E Much is said about beauty in The Tempest. Miranda inparticular is taken wit h the way people look. She falls in loveat her first sight of Ferdinand's "brav e form", and later, whenshe beholds Alonso and his nobles, she cries, O, wonde r! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O br ave new world That has such people in't! (Act V, Scene I, lines 181-184) M iranda associates beauty with "goodliness" not only becauseof Ferdinand, but als o because her main image of evil has beenCaliban--who, as Prospero informs you i n Act IV, Scene I, growsuglier as his mind cankers. Caliban's mother, the "foul witchSycorax, was equally deformed, "grown into a hoop" with "age andenvy" (Act I, Scene II). Shakespeare's audience believed in a connection betweenphysical and moral beauty; the body, they thought, was areflection of the soul. (Accord ing to Genesis, after all, Godcreated humanity in his own image.) But they weren 't quite asnaive as Miranda, and neither was Shakespeare: the "goodlycreatures" she extols include Antonio and Sebastian, who maylook noble but aren't. The th eme of beauty-equals-virtue workson a simple, fairy-tale plane in the Miranda-Fe rdinand scenes,but before the play is over Shakespeare reminds you that realityi sn't as neat. 5. CHASTITY AND APPETITE A contrast in The Tempest is made be tween Ferdinand, whopraises chastity, and Caliban, a creature of uncontrolleddes ire. (See especially the beginning of Act IV, where Prosperolectures Ferdinand on the subject.) Prospero must learn tocontrol his own appetites, especially for knowledge, and tocontrol his anger. Though Caliban is the prime example of ap petite run amuck,Shakespeare also offers Stephano (a drunkard) and Trinculo--who plan murder, rape, and robbery--as well as Antonio andSebastian, as horrible exa mples of what uncontrolled appetitescan do to people. 6. OTHER THEMES The a bove listing of themes is only a beginning; it doesn'texhaust the thematic richn

ess of The Tempest. The list ofthemes goes on and on. An important one is the contrast betweennature and society. Nature's representative is Caliban; whenyou compare him to the wise, just, and civilized Prospero youcan appreciate the sha rp differences. However, society has alsoproduced Antonio and Sebastian, and Ca liban compares favorablywith these villains. A civilized man may be superior to anuncivilized beast, but the natural beast is better than thedepraved products of society. Another important theme might be called purification throughsuffer ing. Prospero, in his long exile, has more than atonedfor whatever mistakes he might have made when he ruled Milan.Ferdinand must suffer through Prospero's tes ts before he can winMiranda's hand. Most significantly, Alonso must undergo the suffering that Prospero has designed for him before Prospero canfind it in his h eart to forgive him. Prospero has created aPurgatory for Alonso and his compani ons on the island; onlyafter they're purged is he ready to show them his benevol entside. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: STYLE Shakespeare's dramatic verse is written in iambic pentameter.An iamb is a metrical foot composed of an unaccented sylla blefollowed by an accented one--for example, to-DAY. A pentameterline consists of five feet, as at the opening of Act IV: if I / have TOO / ausTERE/ly PUN/is hed YOU. But The Tempest was written at the end of Shakespeare'scareer, and by the time he wrote it he had begun introducingsubtle variations into his usual i ambic pentameter. Thus, youwon't find many lines that fit the mold as perfectly as theabove example. The Tempest contains some of Shakespeare's finest verse. Compared to his earlier plays, however, it's relatively scarcein imagery. One v iew is that Shakespeare had become so adept bythe time he wrote The Tempest that his metaphors, instead ofbeing rich and highly developed, dart in and out of th e verse,mere hints of images that move as quickly as thought. Anequally interes ting suggestion is that The Tempest doesn't needas many images in its language b ecause the play itself is animage--you don't need metaphors for a metaphor. An example will serve to illustrate the complexity ofShakespeare's late style. In Act I, Scene II, as Prospero istelling Miranda about the way Antonio betrayed h im, he says thathis treacherous brother, having both the key Of officer and office, set all hearts i' th' state To what tune pleased his ear... (lines 8 3-85) The imagery here isn't especially vivid or sensuous, but themetaphor is quite complicated, and it hinges on a pun. With thefigure of a key--the kind of key that opens a door--Prosperodeclares that Antonio had control over both the dukedom and theDuke (Prospero himself). But then the meaning of "key" changesto a musical one, as in "the key of C-sharp," and the metaphorchanges to a musical one, too. The Tempest is one of Shakespeare's romances, and as such ithas a f airy-tale quality. The language of the play reflectsthat quality. It's stark a nd tragic at points, notably duringthe beginning storm scene and in the last two acts, whenProspero is deciding between vengeance and forgiveness, and atragic o utcome seems possible. But generally the language isamong Shakespeare's lovelie st and most delicate. Caliban'sfamous speech, "Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises" (ActIll, Scene II) provides an excellent example of the language ofth e romance. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ELIZABETHAN ENGLISH All languages change. Differences in pronunciation and wordchoice are apparent even between parents an d children. Iflanguage differences can appear in one generation, it is only tob e expected that the English used by Shakespeare four hundredyears ago will diffe r markedly from the English used today. Thefollowing information on Shakespeare 's language will help youunderstand The Tempest. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: MOBILIT Y OF WORD CLASSES Adjectives, nouns, and verbs were less rigidly confined topa rticular classes in Shakespeare's day. Adjectives were oftenused adverbially. In Act V, scene i, line 309, Prospero speaksof "dear-beloved" where today we wou ld require "dearly-beloved."Adjectives could also function as nouns, In Act I, s cene ii,line 329, Prospero describes "that vast of night," where amodern speaker would use "vast abyss." Nouns were often used as verbs. Caliban complains: ...here you sty me... (I, ii, 344) where "sty" is the equivalent of "keep me in filthyconditions. And verbs could occasionally function as nouns, as when" manage" is used for "management" in The manage of my state (I, ii, 69) ^^^^^ ^^^^^THE TEMPEST: CHANGES IN WORD MEANING The meanings of words undergo chang es, a process that can beillustrated by the fact that "nice" formerly meant "wan

ton."Many of the words in Shakespeare still exist today, but theirmeanings have changed. The change may be small, as in the caseof "plantation," which meant "c olonization," as in Had I plantation of this isle, my lord (II, i, 137) or more fundamental, so that "complexion" (I, i, 29) meant"outward appearance," "g aberdine" (II, ii, 103) meant "long,outer garment," "monstrous" (III, iii, 31) m eant "nonhuman,""rack" (IV, i, 156) meant "small cloud" and "admire" (V, i, 154) meant "wonder at, be amazed by." ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: VOCABULARY LOSS Words not only change their meanings, but are frequentlydiscarded from the language. In the past, "bootless" (I, ii,35) meant "useless," "foison" (II, i, 159) meant "abundantharvest," and "welkin" (I, ii, 4) meant "sky, heavens." Thefollowing w ords used in The Tempest are no longer current inEnglish, but their meaning can usually be gauged from thecontext in which they occur. YARE (I, i, 6) promptly , speedily TEEN (I, ii, 64) sorrow, trouble COIL (I, ii, 207) confusion FL OTE (I, ii, 234) sea BATE (I, ii, 246) reduce, abate HESTS (I, ii, 274) comm ands CHIRURGEONLY (II, i, 136) surgeonlike TILTH (II, i, 148) tillage of the land CHOUGH (II, i, 261) jackdaw, kind of crow FEATER (II, i, 268) more gra tefully KIBE (II, i, 272) chilblain, inflamed sore INCH-MEAL (II, ii, 3) inc h by inch MOW (II, ii, 9) make faces, grimace BOMBARD (II, ii, 21) vessel fo r carrying liquids DEBOSHED (III, ii, 25) debauched DOIT (II, ii, 32) small coin SCAMEL (II, ii, 172) bird, seagull PATCH (III, ii, 62) jester, fool F RESHES (III, ii, 66) springs of fresh water MURRAIN (III, ii, 78) disease WE ZAND (III, ii, 89) windpipe TROLL (III, ii, 115) sing cheerfully CATCH (III, ii, 124) song, tune LAKIN (III, iii, 1) little lady, By Our Lady FORTHRIGHT S (III, iii, 3) straight paths DOWLE (III, iii, 65) small feather BASS (III, iii, 99) speak in deep/low tones STOVER (IV, i, 63) hay, cattle fodder TWIL LED (IV, i, 64) woven BOSKY (IV, i, 82) wooded VARLETS (IV, i, 170) rogues PARD (IV, i, 261) leopard PIONED (IV, ii, 64) dug DEMI-PUPPETS (V, i, 36) s mall spirits JUSTLE (V, i, 158) push, drive MO (V, i, 234) more ^^^^^^^^^^TH E TEMPEST: VERBS Shakespearean verb forms differ from modern usage in threema in ways: 1. Questions and negatives could be formed withoutusing "do/did," as when Alonso asks Gonzalo: Heard you this, Gonzalo? (II, ii, 311) where tod ay we would say: "Have you heard this?," or whereAntonio states: ...But I feel not This deity in my bosom (II, i, 272) where modern usage demands: "I d o not feel..." Shakespearehad the option of using the following forms a and b, w hereascontemporary usage permits only a: a b How do you look? How look you? How did he look? How looked he? You do not look well. You look not well. You did not look well. You looked not well. 2. A number of past participle s and past tense forms areused that would be ungrammatical today. Among these a re: "holp" for "helped" in By foul play, as thou sayest, were we heaved then ce, But blessedly holp hither (I, ii, 62-3) "forgot" for "forgotten" in . ..Hast thou forgot (I, ii, 257) "broke" for "broken" in I have broke your hest to say so (III, i, 37) "spoke" for "spoken" in Fairly spoke (IV, i, 31) and "waked" and "oped" for "wakened" and "opened" in ...graves at my com mand Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let 'em forth (V, i, 48-9). 3. Archaic verb forms sometimes occur with "thou" and"he/she/it": Thou wert but a lost monster (IV, i, 202) ...he hath lost his fellows (I, ii, 418) ^^^^^^^ ^^^THE TEMPEST: PRONOUNS Shakespeare and his contemporaries had one extra pro noun,"thou," which could be used in addressing a person who was one'sequal or so cial inferior. "You" was obligatory if more than oneperson was addressed, and t his is the pronoun used by theboatswain to the courtly party: Do you not hear him? You mar our labour; keep your cabins (I, i, 12-13) but it could also b e used to indicate respect, as whenMiranda and Ferdinand express their love for each other: Mir. Do you love me? Fer. ...I Beyond all limit of what else i' th' world Do love, prize, honour you. (III, i, 67ff) Frequently, a per son in power used "thou" to a subordinatebut was addressed "you" in return, as w hen Gonzalo and theboatswain speak: Gon. Good, yet remember whom thou hast ab oard Boat. ...You are a counsellor, if you can command these elements to si lence... (I, i, 19ff) but if "thou" was used inappropriately, it could cause graveoffense. One further pronominal reference warrants a comment. Therewas not a sharp distinction between "it" and "he/she" inElizabethan English. Mirand

a describes Caliban: 'Tis a villain, sir (I, ii, 311) and Stephano used "i t" where "she" would now be obligatory: Is it so brave a lass? (III, ii, 101 ) ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: PREPOSITIONS Prepositions were less standardized in the past than they aretoday, and so we find several uses in The Tempest that wou ldhave to be modified in contemporary speech. Among these are"on" for "of" in And sucked my verdure out on it (I, ii, 87) "to" for "for" in Tunis was n ever graced before with such a paragon to their Queen (II, i, 71-2) "of" f or "from": ...she was of Carthage, not of Tunis (II, i, 79) "with" for "in" : ...with a twink (IV, i, 43) and "on" for "in": ...on a trice (V, i, 238 ) ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: MULTIPLE NEGATION Contemporary English requires only one negative per statementand regards such utterances as "I haven't none" as no nstandard.Shakespeare often used two or more negatives for emphasis andthe follo wing occur in The Tempest: This is no mortal business nor no sound That the earth owes (I, ii, 409-10) and Nor go neither; but you'll lie, like dogs, and yet say nothing neither (III, ii, 18-19) ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: POINT O F VIEW Usually it isn't productive to talk about "point of view" ina play. A novel, in contrast, has a narrator. He or she may beomniscient, standing outsid e the story, reading the characters'thoughts and perhaps offering some opinions of his or her own;or the narrator may be one of the characters in the story. Bu ta play rarely has a narrator, as the various characters speakfor themselves. To an unusual degree, however, you see The Tempest from onecharacter's point of view--Prospero's. Shakespeare seems toendorse Prospero's opinions: the magicia n may not be perfect,but most of what he says is trustworthy (except, perhaps, w henhe's very angry). Besides, like author and spectator, Prosperowitnesses almo st all of the action (and he controls most of it).When he's not there, Ariel is there in his stead, so he missesvery little. He witnesses Miranda and Ferdinand 's declarationof love (Act III, Scene I) and the punishment of the "three menof sin" (Act III, Scene III). Prospero doesn't tell the story,like an omniscient n arrator; however, in the sense that he'sbehind the events, he creates it. You m ay feel, however, assome readers have, that this limitation in the point of view isa drawback. Because you see everything from Prospero'sstandpoint, it's diffi cult to develop real sympathy for some ofthe other characters. What would the p lay be like, for example,if you saw things through Alonso's eyes? Or Gonzalo's? Itwould have a very different feeling, and Prospero wouldcertainly seem less i deal than he does as the play stands. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: FORM AND STRUCTURE The Tempest is unique among Shakespeare's mature plays inobserving the classi cal unities of time (everything happens inone day--a matter of hours, in fact) a nd of place (everythinghappens in one locale, Prospero's island or just offshore ).Critics in Shakespeare's time thought observing the unities wasessential to go od drama. Could Shakespeare have been sensitiveto criticism, attempting in The Tempest to prove that he wasadept at dramatic construction? The play has been criticized, however, for lacking one of themost basic elements of good drama: t ension. There's conflict,of course--between Prospero and, at one point or anoth er,practically all the other characters--but there's not muchsuspense about the outcome. Prospero is in control frombeginning to end. The only real question i s whether he'llforgive his enemies. The Tempest is also unusual in its divisio n by Shakespeareinto five acts, along the lines of classical Roman tragedies.Of course, we're accustomed to five-act Shakespeare, but thesedivisions are usually the work of later editors. Here, however,structural evidence suggests the play wright himself divided TheTempest into five acts. Shakespeare's romances diffe r from his other comedies, withwhich they're often grouped, in their emphasis on the passage oftime. In The Winter's Tale, for example, sixteen years passbetwe en Acts Ill and IV. The Tempest differs from the otherromances in that time pas ses not within the play--the actiontakes place in just a few hours--but before i t. Twelve yearshave passed between Prospero's exile from Milan and the stormtha t opens the play. The romances, as a group, share certain othercharacteristics . One is the gross improbability of the action.Magical things happen; the plays are almost like fairy tales.(Improbable events happen in the comedies, too, but those eventsare more like coincidence than magic.) Also, the characterrelations hips, especially the love relationships, are simpler inthe romances than in the

other comedies. Ferdinand andMiranda's love isn't much different from that of P rince Charmingand the Sleeping Beauty; it doesn't have the psychological depthth at you find in Shakespeare's earlier love relationships suchas Romeo and Juliet' s. Two plot elements are noteworthy in the romances. First,they share a conce rn with storm--a concern that gives TheTempest its title. Second, travel on the sea always plays apart in them. The Tempest begins with a voyage, and ends wit hthe characters preparing for another one. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: THE FIVE-ACT STRUCTURE ACT I: EXPOSITION. The storm; Prospero fills Miranda in onpast eve nts; introduction of Ariel and Caliban. ACT II: Rising Action. Antonio and S ebastian plot againstAlonso; Caliban joins forces with Stephano and Trinculo. ACT III: Climax. Ferdinand and Miranda declare their love;Ariel charms Caliban 's group into following him, and punishesthe "three men of sin." Act IV: Fall ing Action. The spirits' masque for Ferdinandand Miranda; Prospero and Ariel pu nish the thieves. ACT V: Conclusion. Prospero forgives his enemies. ^^^^^^^^ ^^THE TEMPEST: SOURCES The Tempest is one of a handful of Shakespearean comed ies forwhich we can't pinpoint the sources. There have been someattempts to lin k it to a slightly earlier German comedy Comediavon der schonen Sidea, by Jakob Ayrer (1543-1605), but theevidence isn't convincing. There are, however, eleme nts within the play that are clearlyrelated to other documents. The most import ant of thesedocuments are a series of pamphlets concerning the survival ofsome m ariners in the Bermuda Islands after a tempest in 1609.Until then, the Bermudas were popularly thought to be inhabitedby demons and fairies. The Bermuda pamphl ets were published in1610, around the time Shakespeare was writing The Tempest, andit's evident from certain similarities of phrase, especially inthe first act, that he read and remembered them. It's alsoprobable that the whole idea of sur vival on a lush, remote,magical island influenced his conception of The Tempest. There are several speeches for which we can cite a specificsource. One is Go nzalo's fantasy (Act II, Scene I) aboutgoverning the island; this was based on t he French essayistMontaigne's "Of the Cannibals," a treatise on the AmericanIndi ans, which was published in the English translation of JohnFlorio in 1603. Pros pero's farewell to his art (Act V, Scene I)adopts phrases from the Roman poet Ov id's Metamorphoses;Shakespeare apparently drew both on Arthur Golding's 1567tran slation and on the Latin original. There are a few otherdetails whose origins w e can trace: for example, the name ofthe devil-god Setebos, whom Caliban and hi s mother worship,comes from Robert Eden's History of Travel (1577), where Setebo sis mentioned as a devil worshipped by the Patagonians of SouthAmerica. ^^^^^^^^ ^^THE TEMPEST: ACT I, SCENE I The Tempest opens with the excitement of a ragi ng storm atsea. The wind is howling violently, and huge waves threaten theship. Confusion reigns on board. The ship's boatswain (theofficer in charge of the deck crew) is vigorously calling outorders as he attempts to save the ship. But a group offrightened noblemen keep hounding him, making it difficult forhim to do his job. You get a glimpse of Alonso, the King ofNaples, the first of the no bles to speak, and later you hearthat he and his son the Prince are praying belo w. Despite themariners' best efforts, the storm triumphs; cries of "We split!"s ignal that the boat is breaking apart. As the scene ends, themen prepare to sin k with their king. NOTE: THE SOCIAL ORDER In Shakespeare's day, people regard edthe social hierarchy--with the king (or queen) at the top, thenthe nobles, and then the commoners at the bottom--as the earthlyreflection of a larger "chain o f being." This great hierarchydescended from God, at the top, to the lowest eart hly vermin;human beings had their place between the angels and the animals.Monar chs were God's lieutenants on earth, and it was theirresponsibility to see that the proper order was maintainedthere. The tempest of this opening scene, howeve r, turns thesocial order topsy-turvy. In a well-ordered world, the Kingwould be giving directions and the seamen would be obeying them,but in the midst of a na tural disaster, the order is inverted. In the next scene, you'll learn that th e social order hasbeen inverted in another way: one of the noblemen on board,An tonio, is a usurper--a false monarch who has stolen power froma real one. In a sense, the tempest, a natural upheaval, is asymbol for this social upheaval. T hough the first scene is brief and chaotic, Shakespeare hasalready begun drawing character portraits. Spectators wouldn'tknow yet who Antonio and Sebastian are

, but they'd be able tosee that they're arrogant, meddlesome aristocrats who don 't havethe good sense to leave the boatswain alone. (To his credit,the boatswai n manages to come back with a snappy response. WhenSebastian curses his insolen ce, he retorts, "Work you,then"--Get to work!) You are also amply introduced to Gonzalo.The old councilor, though talkative, is even-tempered andoptimistic. Wh ile the other nobles are panicking or praying fortheir lives, he manages to inje ct a little humor into thesituation. Making a joke of the proverb "He that's bo rn to behanged need fear no drowning," he observes that the roughboatswain looks exactly like the kind of scoundrel who's boundfor the gallows--so perhaps they' re all safe from drowning. Atthe end of the scene, he invokes Providence--the w ill of abenevolent God--with the words, "The wills above be done!"Providence wil l form an important theme in The Tempest, for theshipwreck, though seemingly a d isaster, will turn out to be akind of blessing for the men on board. ^^^^^^^^^^T HE TEMPEST: LINES 1-186 The scene shifts from the enchanted island where the rest ofthe play takes place. Prospero, scholar and magician, standsbefore his q uarters talking with his kind-hearted daughterMiranda. She knows her father has called up the storm and shebegs him to calm it, for she has spotted the ship an d isterrified for whomever might be aboard. NOTE: Observe that while Miranda addresses her father as"you," he uses the "thou" form of the second-person prono un withher. In Elizabethan English (as in present-day French, German,and other languages), the "you" form is more formal orrespectful; the "thou" form expresse s familiarity. Prospero promises Miranda that the storm hasn't harmed a hairof anybody aboard the ship. But at the moment he wants to speakto Miranda about s omething else: her background, about whichhe's so far avoided telling her. He reminds her that she wasn'tquite three years old when they came to the island; b ecause hementions, a few lines later, that they've been there twelveyears, you c an estimate her age at fifteen. Prospero tells Miranda that he was once the po werful Duke ofMilan (Shakespeare puts the accent on the first syllable:MI-lan. The Italy of Shakespeare's day was not the unifiednation it is today, but rather a collection of states, each ofwhich had its own government.) Miranda, the prin cess, wasProspero's only child and heir. "Foul play" drove them out ofMilan, bu t a blessing brought them to this island. (Note thatthe theme of divine provide nce is invoked again.) The heroes of tragedy are often good men who have a fat alflaw. Although The Tempest is no tragedy, the Prospero whoruled Milan had jus t such a flaw: he loved learning too much,and it proved to be his downfall. He spent more and more timealone in study, turning the rulership of Milan over to hisbrother Antonio. But Antonio's head was swayed by power: heconvinced himsel f that he was the rightful duke. Thus, he madea deal with Prospero's enemy, the King of Naples: If the Kingwould help Antonio drive his brother out of office, then Antoniowould see that Milan paid him a yearly sum of money ("annualtribute ") and would make Milan, which had been a sovereignpower, subservient to Naples. His plan wasn't only treacherous,it was unpatriotic. Prospero, recalling it, cringes at thethought of Milan bowing to Naples. The King of Naplesaccordingly raised a "treacherous army" that one midnightcarried off Prospero and the child Miranda. The army didn'tdare kill them, because the two were so beloved by the people;instead, they were set adrift in a rotten little boat. The onebright spo t was the behavior of Gonzalo, the kindly Neapolitancouncilor. He provided them with food and fresh water, and alsowith some "rich garments"--which may explain the existence ofProspero's magic robe, as well as the fine clothes with which,i n Act IV, he tempts a band of thieves. (Antonio, the King ofNaples, and Gonzalo have already appeared--though a spectatormight not realize it--in the opening o f the shipboard scene.) You may find Prospero's narrative a little difficult t ofollow at first. These memories excite and anger him, thus hissentence structu re isn't as clean and precise as it would be ifhe were calmer. His excitement i s probably also one reason thathe keeps asking Miranda if she's listening, thoug h it'sperfectly obvious that she's very attentive. NOTE: THE CLASSICAL UNITIE S Prospero's long speech providesthe background information you need in order to follow the restof the story. But it would have been almost as easy, and muchmo re dramatic, for Shakespeare to have included one or two earlyscenes actually sh owing these events. By giving the narrativeto Prospero, he observes what were k

nown as the classicalunities. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle had obse rved thatmost tragedies confine themselves to "a single revolution of thesun." R enaissance critics turned his observation into a strictrule, insisting that not only must the action of a play berestricted to a single day, it should remain in a single placeas well. If you're familiar with Shakespeare's other plays,you'l l know that he wasn't impressed by these so-called rules;in fact, he was critici zed for not adhering to them. Somescholars believe that in composing The Tempes t along suchstrictly unified lines (the play takes place within a few hoursand e verything happens on Prospero's island, or just offshore),Shakespeare was showin g his critics how rigorous he could be ifhe wanted to. But it's equally possibl e that Shakespeare didn'tcare at all about critical theory--that he constructed TheTempest as he did simply because it suited the effect for whichhe was strivin g. Prospero ends his tale by informing Miranda that his enemiesare now on the shore of his island, and that he must act swiftlyto make his good luck secure. Miranda promptly, and ratherunexpectedly, falls asleep. Possibly she sleeps bec ause itsuits Prospero's purposes: he wants her out of the way so hecan talk pri vately with Ariel. But there's also a chance thatShakespeare is poking fun at h imself here, as if to say, "I knowhow tedious all this background is getting. L ook, even theactors can't keep their eyes open." ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: LINES 1 87-304 Perhaps you noticed that Prospero, in his narrative, movedfrom a rather stark and tragic realism, as he recalled hisdownfall, to the almost fairy-tale tone with which he describedthe journey to the blessed island. The texture of t he play haschanged, too. It began with a terrifying and realistic storm;now, as Prospero summons the spirit Ariel, it moves into therealm of delightful fantasy . Ariel is described in the opening cast of characters as "anairy spirit." He' s all lightness, speed, fire, and music;there's nothing bodily about him. In fa ct, you can only callhim "he" for the sake of convenience, since he can assume a female form as easily as a male one. Prospero asks whether Ariel has created t he tempest he wascommanded to create, and Ariel replies with a description of hi smischief. Turning himself into fire, he danced in the guise offlames all aroun d the ship, terrifying the men. All thenoblemen on board jumped into the sea, b ut Ariel has seen to itthat they're all safely ashore; in fact, their clothes ar e evenfresher than before. Ariel has separated them into groups; theKing's son, Ferdinand (who was the first to jump overboard), isby himself. The ship is hid den in a "deep nook" in the harbor;the sailors are below deck, sleeping a sleep that's halfexhaustion, half enchantment. NOTE: "THE STILL-VEXED BERMOOTHES" W hen Ariel mentions goingto "fetch dew" from the Bermuda Islands, it's the only a llusionto the Bermudas in the play, but it isn't coincidental. (Thespelling "Be rmoothes" imitates the Spanish pronunciation of thename.) In 1609 a group of Bri tish ships had set sail for the newJamestown colony in Virginia; one of the ship s, separated fromthe others in a storm, ran aground in the Bermuda Islands. But the report that first reached England was that the ship hadsunk, and that the cr ew was dead. Thus, when the English publiclearned the next year that the seamen had survived after all,the news caused quite a stir. Several pamphlets about t headventure were published, and Shakespeare, who was writing TheTempest at about that time, apparently read them attentively,since some of them seem to have pro vided a source for certaindescriptions in the play. The storm scene at the outs et, forexample, echoes phrases from the Bermuda pamphlets. Ariel'sdescription o f his fiery antics recalls a description of"Sea-fire" in one of the pamphlets. The safety of the shipwrecked men on the lush Bermuda Islandscaught the imagina tion of the English public for another reasonas well. Until then, there was a g reat deal of superstitionsurrounding the islands. They were associated in the p ublicmind with winds and enchantments, with fairies and demons.That's why Ariel calls them "still-vexed," ever-tormented. (Inour day there's talk about the tre acherous Bermuda Triangle,where ships and airplanes have disappeared.) The disas ter thatturns out to be a blessing is, as you will see, an importanttheme in The Tempest. The theme has already been mentionedonce: in Prospero's speech descr ibing the way he and Mirandareached the fortunate island, "By providence divine. " The idea of an exotic island, inhabited by fairies appealedto Shakespeare's imagination. Geographically, however,Prospero's island is nowhere near the Berm

udas; it's somewherein the Mediterranean Sea. You know this because you learn, inAct II, that the King of Naples' fleet was returning to Italyfrom North Africa when the tempest struck. Prospero is pleased with Ariel's report, and he tell s himthat the next four hours--from two until six--will be of thehighest importa nce. But Ariel isn't eager for more work. Hereminds Prospero of a promise he m ade to take a year off Ariel'sterm of service. You may be surprised that Prospe ro is angeredby Ariel's request. The magician suddenly becomes threatening.He m akes Ariel recall the terrible punishment from which he oncesaved him. Years ea rlier, Ariel had been the servant of the"foul witch" Sycorax, who was banished t o the island from hernative Algiers "For mischiefs manifold, and sorceries terri ble."(When Prospero calls her a "blue-eyed hag," he's referring tothe color of h er eyelids, not her eyes, Blue eyelids wereconsidered a sign of pregnancy, and w hen Sycorax arrived at theisland she was pregnant with the monster Caliban--whom you'llshortly meet.) Sycorax's commands were so horrible that Ariel refused t ocarry them out. As a punishment, she imprisoned him in a cloven(split) pine tr ee, and he remained there, in groaning agony, fora dozen years, during which tim e Sycorax died. EventuallyProspero arrived on the island, opened the pine with a magicstronger than Sycorax's, and released Ariel--on the conditionthat Ariel w ork for him. Sycorax's punishment seems especially terrible because Ariel,the air spirit, is the very essence of freedom. By the sametoken, it may strike you as wrong that he should have to beanybody's servant. Thus, Prospero's rage at Ariel's wish forliberty seems overly harsh, and when he threatens to imprisonAri el in an oak tree for another twelve years, you may thinkhe's gone too far. (Th e horrified Ariel quickly promises to dowhatever he's told.) You should keep s everal factors in mind, however. The firstis that the following hours are very important indeed. Prosperohas already told Miranda that if he doesn't seize his goodfortune now, it will desert him forever. A second, deeperfactor concerns w hat Prospero has learned from past experience.He lost Milan by being a weak, ina ttentive ruler; thus, he keepsa firm (but not cruel) control over his island dom ain. Finally,it was part of fairy folklore that anyone who controlled thespirit s had to keep a careful eye on them, because their naturalinclination was toward freedom, not work. But just when Prospero is starting to seem tyrannical, heb ecomes kindly--as if his harshness had been a joke. Once he'sassured of Ariel's service, he promises Ariel that if heperforms well, he'll set him free in two d ays. Ariel isdelighted. Prospero orders him to assume female shape--"a nympho' th' sea"--and to make himself invisible to everyone butProspero. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: LINES 305-374 Prospero wakens Miranda, then calls Caliban, the monst er sonof Sycorax. Miranda hates Caliban ("'Tis a villain, sir,/I donot love to look on"), but Prospero reminds her that they needhim: he builds their fire, fe tches their wood, and performssimilar menial tasks. Caliban is described in th e opening cast of characters as "asalvage [that is, savage] and deformed slave." Prospero keepshim imprisoned in a kind of rock-den. His first words, acomplain t from offstage, are typical: "There's wood enoughwithin." He knows he's being called to work, and he doesn't feellike it. Caliban is sullen, insolent, uncoop erative, and lazy.When Prospero says that he was "got by the devil himself/Upont hy wicked dam," he's probably referring to the actualcircumstances of Caliban's birth rather than simply insultinghim. The monster's mother, you remember, was the witch Sycorax;his father was apparently a demon. At first Caliban seems sy mpathetic even though he'sbad-tempered. Prospero has nothing but nasty words fo r him("poisonous slave," "lying slave" and so forth), and whenCaliban resists hi s authority, Prospero is even harsher than hewas with Ariel. Prospero threatens to set "urchins" (goblins)on him, who will pinch him so cruelly he'll look like ahoneycomb. Caliban delivers a speech that makes him seem evenmore cruelly vic timized, claiming that the island, which oncebelonged to him, has been stolen fr om him. When Prospero firstarrived on the island, he treated Caliban kindly, te aching himlanguage and petting him. In return, Caliban acquainted himwith his w ide knowledge of the island. Now he curses himselffor having helped Prospero, s ince Prospero has made him a slaveand imprisoned him. Poor Caliban can't even r oam the islandthat was once all his own. Consider the plight of theseventeenthcentury American Indians if you want to show somesympathy for Caliban. One of

the qualities that made Shakespeare a supremedramatist was his profound understa nding of, and sympathy for,his characters--even his villains. For the moment, S hakespearetakes you into the monster's mind and shows you the world fromhis poin t of view; he gives Caliban a fair chance to speak forhimself. Prospero retort s that Caliban is a liar, and that what workswith him is whipping, not kindness. He had raised and educatedthe monster with great kindness--which Caliban repai d by tryingto rape Miranda. Caliban, on being reminded of his crime,cries, "O h o, O ho! Would't had been done!" and he basks,remorseless, in the vision of an island populated by babyCalibans. Suddenly you glimpse Caliban's true nature. You should keep in mind that English citizens ofShakespeare's day held very dif ferent ideas about the socialorder than we do. Notions of equality and democrac y werecompletely foreign, even upsetting, to them. They believed in astrict hie rarchy, from king down to commoner, and they believedthat the world was ordered that way because that was how God hadordained it. Kings ruled by divine right, a right bestowed onthem by God. Aristocrats weren't just lucky men and women wh ohad the benefits of wealth, education, and comfort--they enjoyedthese blessings because their noble natures deserved them.Similarly, laborers toiled because ph ysical work suited theirlower, earthier natures. Such ideas may strike you as s illy andsuperstitious, but they were fundamental to the Elizabethanpicture of an ordered society. Caliban is a slave by nature. (Prospero calls him "slave"si x times in this brief section.) Servitude is what he's fitfor. The attempt to e ducate him for something better and noblerhas only perverted him--a fact Prosper o has learned the hardway. No wonder Prospero sometimes appears so stern, evena uthoritarian. Caliban represents his second failure as aruler. (Losing Milan t o his brother Antonio was his first.) In many ways, Caliban is central to the structure of TheTempest. Shakespeare has set up implied contrasts between themo nster and several other characters. For example, Caliban isdescribed in the cas t of characters as "deformed," and hisugliness--which is the outward reflection of his innervileness--contrasts sharply with Miranda's beauty, which is inturn t he emblem of her beautiful nature. Prospero has takengreat pains to educate his daughter: ...here Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit Than oth er princess' can, that have more time For vainer hours, and tutors not so care ful. Miranda benefits greatly from her education because she has anoble nature to begin with. On the other hand, the main benefitCaliban has reaped from lear ning to speak is that he's become anexpert at cursing. Education has only made him into amalcontent concerning his low position. He may have been bornto serve , but learning has made him hate serving. Miranda isn't the only character wit h whom Shakespearecontrasts Caliban. As the former ruler of the island, and the representative of "nature," Caliban is a counterpart to thecurrent ruler, Prospe ro, the representative of "art" orlearning. Caliban is even more obviously Arie l's preciseopposite. Ariel is "an airy spirit"--light, speedy,intelligent. But almost the first words Prospero speaks toCaliban are "Thou earth, thou!" Caliba n may be viewed as heavy,earthbound, stupid--everything that Ariel isn't. Where as Arielis pure spirit, Caliban is all body, and thus, all uncontrolledappetite. He doesn't control his desires because he can't.(Hence his attempt to rape Mir anda.) Later he'll turn out to bea drunkard as well. You'll see another contra st with Caliban in Ferdinand, theKing of Naples' son. Ferdinand, like Miranda t he child ofroyalty, has a noble nature. Among his many virtues ischastity, or, more broadly, self-control. Caliban, allappetite, will never know the meaning o f self-control. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: LINES 375-503 Ariel returns singing, i nvisible to everyone but Prospero(this effect was probably accomplished in Shake speare's day byhaving the actor wear a special robe signaling invisibility).Ferd inand, son of the King of Naples, closely resembles afairy-tale prince--handsome , brave, and noble. Shakespearenever really develops an in-depth portrait of hi s character.(Similarly, he doesn't develop Miranda much, beyond making hercharmi ng and virginal--a fairy-tale princess.) Ferdinand had been weeping over what he thought was the deathof his father when this strange music came creeping by h im. Itcalmed both him and the storm, and Ferdinand followed it almostagainst hi s will. Ariel's second song, even lovelier than his first (and moreunderstanda ble), describes the "sea-change" of a drowned manwhose eyes turn to pearls and w

hose bones turn to coral. Surethat the words concern his father's drowning, Fer dinand decidesthat the music must be the work of spirits--"no mortalbusiness." P rospero spots the young man and points him out toMiranda. NOTE: Prospero's wo rds are, "The fringed curtains of thineeyes advance/And say what thou seest yond ." These lines havebeen the center of a lively controversy for centuries, with s uchfamous literary names as Alexander Pope and Samuel TaylorColeridge lining up on opposite sides. Pope's followers thinkthe phrasing is too pompous, since it' s nothing more than anoverblown way of saying, "Look what's coming." Coleridge's followers defend Shakespeare, arguing that the words areappropriate to Prospero' s general solemnity, and that Prosperoobviously wants Miranda's first view of Fe rdinand to make astrong impression on her. It's a small but unresolved issue,an d you'll have to read the lines several times in context todecide which argument you favor. When Miranda sees Ferdinand, she's so overwhelmed by his goodlooks that she decides he must be a spirit, or even a god (a"thing divine"). Ferdina nd has the same reaction: is Miranda agoddess? Prospero observes that everythi ng is proceedingaccording to his plan: "They have changed eyes", that is,they'v e fallen in love at first sight (another fairy-taleconvention). Prospero is so delighted that he promises theinvisible Ariel he'll set him free for this. But Prospero doesn't show his pleasure to the young lovers.Ferdinand, surprised to hear Miranda speaking his own language,tells her that he's "the best," the highe st-ranking, of thepeople who speak it. Prospero challenges him: What would the King of Naples say if he heard that statement? The King ofNaples does hear, Fer dinand replies, because Ferdinand himselfis the King of Naples. (Remember, Ferd inand thinks his fatherhas drowned.) NOTE: Ferdinand's statement that the Duk e of Milan (Antonio)and his son went down with the ship is a mystery, because it 'sthe only mention in the play of Antonio's son. Scholars haveoffered various e xplanations: perhaps the reference is aholdover from an earlier version of the play; perhaps at thispoint in the writing Shakespeare hadn't decided on all thec haracter relationships. Because the statement gives Prosperoan opening for a wi tty response, it's possible that Shakespeareleft it in the play simply because h e didn't want to cut a goodline. Miranda is shocked at her father's harshness; she's neverseen him behave so unpleasantly. Prospero explains in an aside tha t if he doesn't make itdifficult for Ferdinand to win Miranda, Ferdinand might n otvalue her highly enough. Do you think this is a convincingexplanation? Keep in mind, at least, that you're in the realmof fairy tale here. It's also probab ly worth remembering thatShakespeare had two daughters of his own. He must have understood Prospero's mixed feelings at seeing his youngdaughter leaving the nes t--even though she's leaving it for afine young man. NOTE: "ASIDE" You'll enc ounter this stage directionfrequently. It indicates that a line is to be spoken secretively--either to another character onstage (for example,when Prospero spea ks to Ariel out of Miranda and Ferdinand'shearing), or directly to the audience (Caliban's lament that hemust obey Prospero because his magic is so powerful). Asides tothe audience are particularly useful for letting spectators inon a char acter's thoughts. To Miranda's horror, Prospero grows even more belligerent.He accuses Ferdinand of trying to steal his island, and hethreatens to imprison hi m. Finally he drives the young man toanger. Ferdinand draws his sword, but bef ore he can use itProspero freezes him with a charm. Ferdinand's action tells yo uthat he's brave, but his bravery is no match for Prospero'smagic. Miranda beg s her father to be merciful. Ferdinand, for hispart, is ready for hardship, eve n imprisonment, as long as hecan glimpse Miranda once a day. (Again, his declar ation has astorybook quality.) The act closes with Prospero maintaining hisfacad e of harshness but secretly whispering his delight, andpromises of freedom, to A riel. NOTE: BEAUTY It isn't unusual for storybook characters likeFerdinand an d Miranda to be attractive, but you may be wonderingwhy Shakespeare places so mu ch emphasis on their appearance.Isn't there more to a person than good looks? A s a matter offact, it was commonly believed in Shakespeare's day thatphysical be auty was the outward reflection of moral beauty.After all, according to the Bibl e, God created man in his ownimage. Ugliness was believed to be evidence of som e kind ofinward evil. (See Richard III for clear evidence of thistheory.) Thus Caliban, with his low nature, is ugly anddeformed. His mother, the witch Sycora

x, was "with age andenvy/Grown into a hoop." Throughout the play, physical beaut y islinked with moral beauty. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: LINES 1-188 Attention no w focuses on Ferdinand's father, the King ofNaples, and the other nobles you met in the storm scene. Kindlyold Gonzalo--the same good councilor who provided Pr ospero andMiranda with food, fresh water, and clothing when they were setadrift twelve years ago--is trying to cheer King Alonso. ButAlonso is in no mood for w ords of comfort; his first line is"Prithee, peace"--Please be quiet. Gonzalo i s supported in his efforts at optimism by twolords--Adrian and Francisco. They' re no match, however, for twonasty, cynical noblemen who keep interrupting their cheerfultalk with jeers and insults. One of these mockers, Antonio, isProspero 's brother, who drove Prospero and Miranda out of Milanand usurped Prospero's du kedom. The other cynic, Sebastian, isAlonso's brother, who is no more likable t han Antonio. NOTE: PAIRING You might pause here to consider with whatsymmetry Shakespeare has cast The Tempest. Almost everycharacter has a counterpart. Pr ospero and Alonso, rightfulrulers as well as fathers, form one pair; their wicke d brothers,Antonio and Sebastian, form another; their children, Miranda andFerdi nand, form a third. Adrian and Francisco, two lords, bothhave bit parts. Ariel and Caliban, the two fantastic beings onProspero's island, are counterparts and opposites. In Act II,Scene II, you'll meet Trinculo and Stephano, two low-born clownswho survive the shipwreck. Among the major characters, onlyGonzalo stand s alone outside these symmetries; he has nocounterpart. Why do you think this i s the case? You might sayhe's the exception that proves the rule, though in fac tsometimes Gonzalo is paired with Alonso, as the voice ofoptimism countering Alo nso's voice of pessimism. As Antonio and Sebastian continue their sarcastic co mmentsand stupid jokes, you may find them more and more irritating.Here Shakespe are gives you an example of the way a person'stemperament shapes his perceptions . To the optimistic Gonzalo,the grass on the island is "lush and lusty... how green!" Butto the sour Antonio it looks "tawny"--dried up by the sun. (Canyou g ive a similar example from your own experience of how twopeople saw the same inc ident in two different ways?) Gonzalo isamazed that their clothing, instead of b eing stained with saltwater, seems clean and fresh. (Recall that in Act I, Scen e II,Ariel told Prospero that his magic had made the men's garments"fresher than before.") However, Antonio and Sebastian don'tseem convinced. Gonzalo and his tormentors argue rather trivially for severallines. Gonzalo identifies the cit y of Tunis, from which theKing's fleet was returning, with the ancient city of C arthage.In fact, the ruins of Carthage are quite close to Tunis. ButAntonio and Sebastian belittle him as if he were an idiot forsaying so. When Gonzalo refer s to the "widow Dido," they hootat that too; apparently because people don't usu ally think ofDido, the passionate lover of Aeneas in Virgil's epic TheAeneid, as a widow, even though she was one. The whole passageis difficult to follow, and scholars still aren't completelysure what all the characters are talking about here. But thegist is clear: Sebastian and Antonio are mocking the old manfor n o good reason. Finally the King has tolerated enough. He complains that hedoe sn't feel like being cheered; grief-stricken, he laments thedeath of his son Fer dinand. Francisco offers some comfort: hesays he saw Ferdinand swimming strong ly over the water, andthere's every reason to believe he reached the shore.Never theless, Alonso still doesn't believe that Ferdinand mightbe alive. Sebastian doesn't even try to comfort his brother. Instead,he's cruel enough to rub salt in his wounds. The wholedisaster, he says, is the King's fault. The storm stru ck whiletheir fleet was on its way home to Naples from North Africa,where they h ad all attended the wedding of the King's daughterClaribel to the King of Tunis. Sebastian reminds the King thathe (Sebastian) and many others--including Clari belherself--opposed the marriage. They didn't want her marryingsomeone from so remote a land. Alonso had refused to yield,however, and his stubbornness, Sebas tian tells him, was the realcause of the present catastrophe. Gonzalo reproach es Sebastian for talking to a grieving manthat way. Still determined to cheer t he King, the old councilordecides to entertain him with a fantasy of what he'd d o if hehad "plantation of this isle"--that is, colonization rights.(But Sebastia n and Antonio make another inane joke--that Gonzalowould plant it with briars an d weeds.) Gonzalo's odd little speech envisions an island withoutmoney, jobs,

or farming; without ownership, inheritance, orweapons. An innocent, uncivilized population would live off thefat of a fertile land, an Eden. His fantasy of an ideal societyis a far cry from the highly organized monarchies ofseventeenth-ce ntury Europe. NOTE: MONTAIGNE Gonzalo's speech is one of the few spots inThe Tempest for which we are sure of Shakespeare's source: apiece of writing called "On the Cannibals" by the great Frenchessayist Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592). Montaigne's essay waspublished in an English translation in 1603, and Gonzalo' sspeech echoes phrases from it so closely that it's certainShakespeare had read it. Montaigne idealized primitive, "natural" societies at theexpense of the hi ghly "artificial" social organization ofEuropean monarchies, with their crime, p overty, and vice.Shakespeare's purpose in quoting him, however, is less clear.Go nzalo, trying to divert the King, is speaking half-jokingly.But is he half-serio us too? The Shakespeare who created Calibancertainly hasn't idealized brute nat ure. On the other hand,like Montaigne, he's evidently concerned with the corrup tinginfluence of civilization, because he includes Antonio andSebastian in the p lay. These two men, you could argue, areworse than Caliban; the monster behaves according to his lownature, but in their corruption they've allowed their highe rnature to be perverted. How seriously Shakespeare intendsGonzalo's speech is a point you'll have to decide about later,after gathering evidence from the rest of the play. Watch fortwo themes: the benevolence of nature, and the corruptin g forceof civilization. Patient as he is, Gonzalo doesn't enjoy the jeers of A ntonioand Sebastian. He keeps his temper, but he leaves no doubt asto his opini on of their "wit." ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: LINES 189-331 Ariel enters, still i nvisible and playing magical music thatimmediately puts Gonzalo, Adrian, and Fra ncisco into anenchanted sleep. As Alonso grows drowsy too, Sebastianencourages him to sleep and soothe his grief. Antonio promisesthat they'll guard the King' s safety while he dozes--anoutrageous lie, in view of the murderous scheme he's about tohatch with Sebastian. Ariel leaves, and Sebastian and Antoniowonder why they haven't become sleepy too. As you'll see,leaving them awake is part of Pr ospero's plan. With the others out of the way, Antonio draws Sebastian intoa p lot to kill the King and take the crown for himself. (Ifyou've read Macbeth, wh at resemblance do you find betweenAntonio and the scheming Lady Macbeth?) Sebast ian only graduallyperceives his meaning. Antonio tells the King's brother that hehas a great opportunity here, if he'll only seize it. The Kingis asleep, defe nseless; Ferdinand, who would inherit the crownif anything happened to his fathe r, has surely drowned, despiteGonzalo's optimism. Ferdinand's sister Claribel, to whom thecrown would belong after Ferdinand's death, is so far away inTunis th at for all practical purposes she's out of the picture.Antonio's style is elevat ed, but his meaning is simple andbrutal: if Sebastian murders his brother as he sleeps, he cantake the crown for himself--just as Antonio stole the crown ofhis own brother, Prospero. Antonio's reasoning may sound logical to someone who's readyto be convinced, but a closer examination will reveal itsfalsity. Look at these sleeping lords, Antonio says; if theywere dead, they'd be no worse off th an they are right now.Besides, Sebastian could rule Naples just as well as Alons o.Furthermore, murdering the talkative Gonzalo would be no loss toanybody. Anto nio reminds Sebastian of his own crime againstProspero; just see how he's benefi ted from it, he says. Sebastian's brief reply is straightforward: what aboutA ntonio's conscience? Antonio assures him that his consciencedoesn't even bother him as much as a kibe (a cold sore) on hisfoot would--less, in fact, because he would feel the sore, buthe doesn't feel guilt. He tells the hesitant Sebastian thathe'll murder the King at once if Sebastian will draw his swordbeside him an d kill loyal Gonzalo. The rest of the lords, hepromises him, won't cause any pr oblem--they'll support whoeverholds the power. Sebastian reaches a firm resolu tion: he'll do it. And forhelping him this way, he'll free Antonio from the an nual tributethat Alonso exacted for helping Antonio get rid of Prospero. IfAnto nio has any motive beyond sheer wickedness for urgingSebastian into the scheme, this is probably it. The twovillains prepare to draw their swords, but the nerv ous Sebastianhesitates again, and they pause for a moment to discuss thematter f urther. NOTE: REENACTMENT When Shakespeare decided to observe theclassical un ities in The Tempest, he sacrificed a great dramaticpossibility. Antonio's plot

against Prospero, which is centralto the drama, would have supplied some exciti ng scenes.Moreover, by not staging them, Shakespeare risked not having hisaudien ce see how villainous Antonio really was. It's one thingto hear about a crime, but another to see it being planned andcarried out. Therefore, by having Antoni o mastermind this plotagainst Alonso--a plot that's almost identical to his earl iercrime against Prospero--Shakespeare portrays Antonio as ausurper without havi ng to spread the action of the play overtwelve years. He even manages to create a littlesuspense--though not a great deal, since you'll shortly learnthat every thing is proceeding according to Prospero's plan. Prospero has foreseen the da nger to his old friend Gonzalo,just as he's foreseen Sebastian and Antonio's sch eme. Arielreenters and awakens Gonzalo the same way he had put him tosleep: wi th music. This time there's nothing vague about hissong: it's a clear warning of danger. When Gonzalo opens hiseyes to see Sebastian and Antonio with their s words drawn, hecries out, waking the King and the other lords. Caught red-hand ed, the two villains have to invent a story.Sebastian starts rattling that he he ard a noise like bulls orlions--evidently he hasn't gotten his story straight ye t.Antonio chimes in that the noise was terrible. Alonso seemsslightly suspiciou s ("I heard nothing"), but Gonzalo admits thathe heard something too, though it was more like humming thanroaring. Gonzalo seems ready to accept their tale if for noother reason than that he doesn't like being suspicious.Reassuring the Kin g once more that Ferdinand must be alivesomewhere on the island, they go off sea rching for him, whileAriel leaves to report to Prospero. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ACT II, SCENE II On another part of the island, Caliban is at one of hischore s, hauling firewood; as usual, he's cursing Prospero withevery plague he can thi nk of. He isn't worried about thespirits overhearing him because he knows they won't torment himunless Prospero orders them to. Caliban reveals their pettortu res: they pinch him, throw him in the mud, lead him astraywith magic lights, tu rn into apes that grimace and bite him, orinto hedgehogs that prick his feet, or into snakes that windaround him. Then he sees Trinculo and mistakes him for on e ofProspero's spirits come to punish him for working too slowly.He falls flat ( there are no trees to hide behind) in the hopethat the "spirit" won't notice him . Trinculo, another survivor of the storm, is a jester fromAlonso's court. Af ter enduring the terror of the storm, he'sstill nervous about the weather. It l ooks like a new tempest isbrewing, but he doesn't see any trees or bushes to she lter him.He sees only Caliban, and he doesn't know what to make of him.The monst er smells as bad as an old fish, but he seems more likean inhabitant of the isla nd struck dead by lightning. (Caliban,frightened of the "spirit," is lying very still.) Trinculoreflects that in England, Caliban could make his fortune:people would gladly pay a high price to behold such a marvel.Indeed, as Shakespeare kn ew, the English were great fans ofside-shows. NOTE: At the time Shakespeare w as writing The Tempest,American Indians were a popular curiosity in England. Th ey werebrought over to be exhibited, but after suffering abuse theyrarely lived to return home--thus, perhaps, Trinculo's referenceto "a dead Indian." Trincul o is a jester to Alonso, and he functions in the playas a clown, too. Shakespea re hasn't made him convincinglyItalian; after all, he makes topical jokes about England. Notethe way he uses images of drinking. The black cloud he spotslooks like "a foul bombard"--a large leather jug--"that wouldshed his liquor"; he'll have to wait until "the dregs of thestorm" are past. At this point he isn't dru nk (his friendStephano is the drunkard), but before long he'll be reelingaround the stage. In any case, though he dislikes Caliban'slooks, the approaching stor m convinces him to crawl underCaliban's gaberdine (cloak) for protection. Step hano, described in the cast of characters as "a drunkenbutler", wanders in at th is point. He too was on the King'sship, and like Trinculo he thinks he's the on ly survivor. Hestumbles around, bellowing a song about dying on dry land. Itsu ddenly strikes him that this is hardly an appropriate song, inview of the fact t hat his friends have all drowned. So he takesanother swig and launches into a l ewd song about a woman whodoesn't like sailors. Caliban, meanwhile, is terrifi ed of Trinculo, who's crawledunder his cloak: "Do not torment me!" he cries. S tephano hearsCaliban's voice, then notices the four legs (Caliban's andTrinculo' s) jutting out from the cloak, and decides that he'sstumbled on some kind of tal

king monster. It occurs to him, asit had to Trinculo, that a marvel like this c ould make hisfortune at home. Caliban, who still thinks he's being punished by a spirit,promises, "I'll bring my wood home faster." Stephano decidesthat Calib an must be having some kind of fit, and he offers themonster his favorite remedy : a swig of wine. Caliban is wary,but Stephano assures him he's a friend. Tr inculo, meanwhile, has heard Stephano's voice, andbelieving that Stephano drowne d with the others, he decidesdevils must be at work. Stephano, on hearing Trinc ulo's voice,is even more confused: the monster seems to have not only fourlegs but two voices as well. They talk, and finally he dragsTrinculo out with an obs cene joke about Trinculo's being thedung ("siege") of a monster ("mooncalf"). Trinculo is so delighted to see his friend that he embraceshim a little too ener getically. Stephano, whose stomach isqueasy from too much drink, asks him to st op. These two clownsform a sorry spectacle, but Caliban is convinced they're go ds.After all, Stephano has given him "celestial liquor," and so hekneels to him. Stephano, it turns out, floated to safety on (appropriately)"a butt of sack"-a keg of wine. His repeated oath, "by thisbottle," is a drunkard's joke. But Caliban takes it seriously,and he offers to swear "upon that bottle" to serve St ephano.Trinculo and Stephano pay no attention to him at first. They'remore exci ted about the butt of sack Stephano managed to save. When they do turn to Cali ban, the innocent monster wants toknow if they dropped from heaven. Taking adva ntage of histrustfulness, Stephano claims to be the man in the moon. (Infact, t he early European explorers told lies very much like thisto the innocent Indians .) In any case, Stephano is delighted tohave anyone admiring him. He accepts Ca liban's services andgives him more wine. Trinculo, in contrast, is disgusted wi thCaliban's gullibility as well as his increasing tipsiness, andhe's suddenly em barrassed that he feared the monster at first. Caliban begs Stephano to let hi m kiss his foot, and hepromises to show them all the nooks and crannies of the i slandexactly as he had done twelve years earlier for Prospero. He'sso delighted at the idea of escaping Prospero that he offers tocatch fish for Stephano and t o fetch his wood. Notice that theidea of slavery itself doesn't bother him, bec ause he's anatural slave. All he wants is a new master. NOTE: It's curious t hat while Stephano and Trinculo speak inprose, Caliban's speech is beautiful poe try. The jester and thedrunken butler are ordinary men--funny, but contemptible .Caliban may be a monster, but he isn't merely brutal. He's afairy-tale monster , and the beauty of his language describes hiswonderful and magical nature. Do you know of another less thanadmirable Shakespearean character who also delivers some potentand moving lines? Stephano decides that, because the real King has drowned, heis now the king of the island. He turns his bottle over toTrinculo, and they head off to refill it. Caliban, nowthoroughly drunk, leads the way, s inging and howling in joy athis new "freedom." ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ACT III, SCENE I The action returns to Prospero's part of the island.Ferdinand enters, carrying a log. Although Ferdinand was born aprince, Prospero has him hauling f irewood, which is usually theslave Caliban's task. Because this scene immediate ly followsthe Caliban-Trinculo-Stephano farce, the shift in tone from lowcomic t o elevated is extremely striking. While Caliban cursesand complains about his c hores, Ferdinand performs his task withjoy, as he explains in his opening solilo quy. (A soliloquy is aform of thinking aloud--a monologue addressed directly to theaudience.) Some sports, Ferdinand reflects, are painfullystrenuous, but we t ake part in them because the fun outweighsthe pain. By the same token, chores w hich under othercircumstances would be disgusting to someone so high-born are ap leasure because he's doing them in order to win Miranda. She'seasily worth the toil, though her father is "composed ofharshness." Miranda has wept to watch Fer dinand engage in suchbase labor; but thinking of her, he says, makes the work ea sy. Ferdinand's task is appropriate to the fairy-tale aspect ofhis character: Prospero has ordered him to remove a thousandlogs and pile them up. This kind of feat is typical of legendsthat were old by the time Shakespeare wrote The Tem pest. Inolder versions, the young man being tested had to chop the wood,plow th e ground, and reap the harvest all in one day. NOTE: "MOST BUSIEST WHEN I DO IT." Scholars have spentcenturies trying to decipher this line. The Tempest, wr ittenabout 1611, was first published in 1623 in the First Folio, thefamous first

collected edition of Shakespeare's plays. Therethe line reads: "Most busie le st, when I doe it." Since thattime, a number of conjectures have been offered. One is thatthe word should be "busieliest," meaning "most busily" (an oddformati on, but it has parallels elsewhere in late Shakespeare).Another is that the line was supposed to read "Most busiest whenidlest," but some letters were dropped o ff in the process ofprinting, and the printer then patched the line up incorrect ly.Other explanations have also been suggested. Editors ofShakespeare often hav e to deal with this type of difficulty.Because spelling wasn't standardized in S hakespeare's day, andbecause printers were often careless, there are a number of lines in the plays where we can't be certain we're reading whatShakespeare actua lly wrote. Fortunately, these difficulties areusually minor; in any case, Ferdi nand's meaning here seemsrelatively clear. Beginning with "I forget," he's refl ectingthat in pausing to think aloud this way, he's forgetting tocontinue his la bors, even though thoughts of Miranda make thoselabors pleasant. Miranda enter s and urges Ferdinand to rest, since her fatheris busy studying and won't stir f or the next three hours. ButMiranda is wrong: Prospero is secretly watching th e two younglovers. Miranda says she wishes that lightning had burned thelogs du ring the tempest, so poor Ferdinand wouldn't have tostack them now. Creating a beautiful metaphor of the resinthey'll exude when they finally do burn, she says they'll "weepfor having wearied you." Ferdinand won't stop, however, even whe n Miranda offers towork in his place. (A princess aiding her toiling prince was another feature of old legends.) They argue charmingly, andProspero sees how dee ply in love Miranda is. Ferdinand doesn't even know Miranda's name, and when s hetells him (even though her father had told her not to), hecries, "Admired Mira nda!" This is another example ofShakespeare's puns, for the word "admire" comes from the Latinfor "to wonder at"; "Miranda" means "wonderful." (Recall thatwhen Ferdinand first saw Miranda, in Act I, Scene II, headdressed her, "O you wonder! ") Ferdinand says he's known manywomen, but they each had some flaw. But not Mi randa: she'sperfect and peerless. Miranda answers, modestly, that unlike Ferd inand she'sinexperienced. She can't compare herself to other women,because she doesn't know any. For that matter, she doesn't knowany men, either, except for her father and now Ferdinand. Butshe knows she wants no other man than Ferdinan d. Ferdinand admits that as royalty he would ordinarily detestthis kind of lab or. Because his heart has made him Miranda'sslave, however, he can bear it pati ently. Miranda very simplyasks if he loves her; his reply is such an ecstatic " yes" thatit makes her cry. Prospero, still watching, is delighted. Miranda is weeping, she says, because she feels so unworthy.Because she wants to be simple , not sly, she asks himstraightforwardly if he will marry her. She also promise s to behis "maid" if he refuses, with a pun on "maid" as both "virgin"(because s he won't marry anybody else) and "servant." Ferdinand,of course, is as eager to marry her as a slave is to be free--anappropriate comparison, considering his pr esent bondage. Thus,they part happily. Prospero, left alone onstage, reflects that though he can'tbe as happy as the lovers, he couldn't be any happier than heis. Still, there's much to be done to complete his plan. NOTE: RECONCILIAT ION OVER GENERATIONS Prospero and Alonsoare old enemies, as you know from Prospe ro's reminiscences inAct I, Scene II. Now their children, Miranda and Ferdinand ,have fallen in love. The notion that a younger generation canheal the rifts be tween their parents is an element in several ofShakespeare's later plays. It ma y also remind you of one of theearlier plays in which the tragic love of Romeo a nd Julietultimately brings together their feuding families, the Montaguesand the Capulets. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ACT III, SCENE II In another sharp contrast , a delicate and serious exchange isnow followed by some broad slapstick humor, including a barrageof comic puns. Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo are all roar ing drunk at thispoint. Stephano commands the others to drink up. Trinculoobse rves that if the other inhabitants of the island (Calibanhas told them about Pro spero and Miranda) have brains liketheirs, then "the state totters"--a pun on th eir drunkenstaggering. Stephano is swaggering as usual, claiming that he swam" five-and-thirty leagues" (around 120 land miles) to reach theshore. He offers t o make Caliban his standard-bearer, orflag-carrier, at which Trinculo cracks tha t he'd be an unfitstandard because he's too drunk to stand. He'd make a betterl

ieutenant, "if you list." This is yet another pun: the phrasemeans "if you wish ," but Stephano is listing like aship--tilting drunkenly to the side. As for C aliban, he's drunk so much wine that at first heseems barely able to talk. When he finally does, he's stillfawning on Stephano. Earlier he'd begged to kiss St ephano'sfoot; now he wants to lick his shoe. But Caliban is not sodrunk that he can't sense Trinculo's contempt. Trinculo can'tbelieve that Caliban regards a fool like Stephano as a lord, andso he taunts him, "That a monster should be suc h a natural!"with still another pun. A "natural" is an idiot, but a monster,of course, is unnatural. Stephano finally comes to Caliban'sdefense, and with his usual exaggeration he threatens to hangthe jester. Now Caliban is ready to inf orm Stephano of the scheme he'sbeen formulating: he wants his new master to rid him ofProspero. As soon as he starts to outline his plot, however,Ariel enters and begins his mischief. When Caliban claims thatProspero cheated him out of t he island, Ariel says, "Thouliest." Because the airy spirit is still invisible, Caliban andStephano assume the words are Trinculo's. Stephano threatens toknock the jester's teeth out, and Trinculo, understandably,protests his innocence. Caliban continues: once Stephano eliminates Prospero, theisland will be Stephan o's. His idea is to sneak up on Prosperoand kill him while he's sleeping. Noti ce the parallel withAntonio and Sebastian's plot to murder Alonso in hissleep--a nother instance of symmetry in The Tempest. In somerespects, the drunkards act out on a comic level what thenoblemen attempt on a more serious plane. When Ar iel once again calls Caliban a liar, the monster turnson the innocent Trinculo a nd jeers him as a "pied ninny,"referring to his multi-colored jester's costume. He threatensto refuse to show Trinculo where to find fresh water on theisland. Stephano's threat, to "make a stockfish out of" him, ismore direct: stockfish was dried cod that had been beaten flat.Again, Trinculo claims he's blameless. But when Ariel repeats,for the third time, "Thou liest," Stephano grabs the jest er andpummels him, to Caliban's delight. (Caliban's sadistic pleasureis another indication of his ignoble nature.) As you read, tryto imagine this broad and ba sic comedy performed: if it'sstaged well it is hilarious. Once Trinculo is be aten to Caliban's satisfaction, themonster continues with his scheme, offering a list of sadisticways to kill Prospero. (He obviously enjoys picturing eachone. ) Stephano must remember to seize Prospero's magic books,because without them, C aliban claims, the magician can't commandhis spirits. At this point he also men tions the remarkablybeautiful Miranda. NOTE: You've probably observed that th e monster continues totalk largely in verse while Stephano and Trinculo speak in prose. In fact, scholars have noticed that even Caliban's prosespeeches seem to split into lines of poetry. These lines maywell be "verse fossils" of an earli er draft of the play, butwhat this means isn't clear. Perhaps Shakespeare inten ded atfirst to have Caliban speak solely in verse, and then changedhis mind. It 's possible, too, that some other writer may havedone some tampering. And there 's always the chance--since thelines don't divide exactly--that their closeness to verse isjust a coincidence. When Caliban says, "I never saw a woman/But onl y Sycorax mydam and she" ("she" is Miranda), Shakespeare has drawn a furtherpara llel between the monster and the young women, who's alreadysaid that she can't r emember seeing any men other than herfather and Ferdinand. Recall that in Act I , Scene II,Shakespeare offered a parallel, or at least a contrast, in theway Mir anda and Caliban were educated. Whereas education hadbeneficial effects on Mira nda's high nature, its effects onCaliban's low one were extremely harmful. Keep these parallelsin mind, as they continue developing until the end of theplay. Stephano is charmed with the prospect of so beautiful awoman; thus, he drunkenl y decides to follow Caliban's advice andkill Prospero. Then he'll rule the isla nd with Miranda as hisqueen and Caliban and Trinculo as his court. Ariel eavesd ropson Stephano's plan and pledges to report the plot to Prospero.Stephano is so elated with the plan that he begins a "catch" (amusical round similar to "Row, row, row your boat"). He getsthe tune wrong, however, and Ariel, playing pipe a nd drum,corrects him. This invisible music startles them all.Trinculo, sure tha t it comes from demons, cries out, "O, forgiveme my sins!" Stephano is more defi ant. But Caliban calms themboth. In another unexpected contrast, he interrupts this farceto deliver one of the loveliest speeches in the play, in whichhe assu

res them that there's music all over the island, and thatit's nothing to fear. Once again, there's something wonderfulabout the way in which music charms the m onster. NOTE: MUSIC It should be apparent by now that music is avital element in The Tempest. In fact, this relatively briefplay has more songs in it that a ny of Shakespeare's others, aswell as frequent intervals of instrumental music. While thesongs don't always advance the plot, they seem perfectlydesigned to fi t each singer. Thus, Ariel's music is light,airy, often mysterious; Caliban's i s robust; Stephano's iscoarse. And, as you can see from Caliban's speech, thein strumental music is a convenient stage device for making theisland seem truly en chanted. Caliban's speech does calm the two men. Stephano is pleasedat the pr ospect of ruling an island where music is free.Trinculo, at first so fearful, no w wants to pursue the music.They follow Ariel out, with Caliban in the lead, and Trinculo,still perhaps a little nervous, bringing up the rear. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TE MPEST: ACT III, SCENE III By now Alonso and his court are thoroughly exhauste d fromsearching for Ferdinand. Gonzalo complains that the"forthrights and meand ers"--the straight paths and windingones--have fatigued him, and Alonso calls fo r a rest. Never anoptimist, the King, after this long and fruitless search, has given up all hope of finding the Prince. As the others rest, the conspirators confer. Sebastianassures Antonio that he's still ready to kill his brother.Anto nio advises waiting until night-time, since the men are sotired that they won't be able to maintain much of a guard. An unusually elaborate stage direction ca lls for "Solemn andstrange music," associated as usual with magic. Suddenly the spirits enter, bearing a banquet, and perform a highly courteousdance inviting t he men to dine. When they depart they leaveProspero perched, unseen, at the top of the stage. Naturally, the men are astounded. Sebastian calls thespectacle a "living drollery"--a puppet-show that's come tolife. He and Antonio agree th at from now on they'll believe alltravelers' tales, no matter how preposterous t hey sound.Gonzalo is more impressed with the spirits' behavior: they maybe "of monstrous shape" but their manners are so "gentle" and"kind" that they surpass t hose of most human beings. Prosperonotes how right Gonzalo is, especially since some of the men inhis own company are "worse than devils." Alonso, too, is as tonished; he observes that although theshapes didn't speak, they communicated an "excellent" message.Prospero, still unheard, utters the proverb, "Praise indepa rting," meaning that one should not praise the host untilthe meal is over. Soon Alonso will think the spirits' messageis far less excellent. Sebastian is hun gry, but Alonso hesitates, apparently wary ofa meal served by spirits. But the confident Gonzalo reassureshim: after all, when they were boys, there were many wondersthat they would never have believed in, but now every travelerknows that these wonders really exist. By extension, therefore,there's no need to fear wh at they've witnessed simply becauseit's unfamiliar. NOTE: When Gonzalo mentio ns "Each putter-out of five forone," he's referring to an early form of insuranc e at a timewhen travel was quite dangerous. Travelers leaving Englandwould depo sit a sum of money with an agent. If they didn't comeback, the agent kept the m oney; but if they returned safe, hepaid it back five-fold. (Some scholars have argued that ifShakespeare was talking about travelers, he should have said"each putter-out of one for five.") Alonso is convinced, partly because he's so grie f-strickenover Ferdinand that he doesn't care whether or not the foodharms him. He invites the others to join him. But just asthey're starting to dine, thunde r and lightning break out;Ariel, transformed into a harpy, swoops down and steal s theirfood. Harpies are legendary creatures of Greek and Romanmythology. They have faces of women and the bodies of predatorybirds and not only steal food, b ut leave a sickening stenchbehind them. This scene is based on events in Book I II ofVirgil's Aeneid, the great Roman epic poem. When Shakespeare'snoblemen dra w their swords against the harpies, they'refollowing Virgil; as in Virgil, their attempt to kill them isuseless. The stage direction mentions only Ariel, but s ome ofhis fellow spirits probably appeared as additional harpies,since Ariel ref ers to his "fellow ministers." NOTE: STAGING THE BANQUET By the time The Temp est waswritten, stage machinery had grown quite sophisticated; thebanquet scene, therefore, was probably produced as elaboratelyas anything Shakespeare ever wro te. The stage directions callfor the banquet to vanish "with a quaint device."

Although wedon't know exactly how this was accomplished, one scholarconjectures that the table rose onto the stage through a trapdoor, a cloth around the sides concealing a stagehandunderneath. Ariel descended from above and covered the ta blewith his harpy's wings; meanwhile, the stagehand snatched thefood through a t rap door in the table. Thus, when Ariel removedhis wings, the food was gone. S hakespeare may have placedProspero "at the top"--above the upper stage--so the a ctor couldgive signals to the musicians behind him, who in turn wouldrelay them to the stagehands. The scene, with music, thunderand lightning, and special eff ects, must have formed animpressive spectacle. Ariel the harpy addresses a lon g speech to Alonso, Sebastian,and Antonio--"three men of sin." (Apparently the o thers don'thear it.) The spirit explains that the ever-hungry sea has putthem on an uninhabited island because they're not fit to liveamong men. He claims he's made them insane, and hints thatoften, with the courage of that kind of madness , men killthemselves. At this point they draw their swords against him,but he t aunts them that they can no more kill harpies than theycould kill the sea by sta bbing it. Besides, their swords havesuddenly become too heavy for them. (Prosp ero's magic seems tobe at work here.) Then he tells them the reason they're bein gpunished: for usurping Prospero's dukedom and casting him andMiranda out to se a. (Note that this is the first you hear ofSebastian's involvement in the plot against Prospero.) Thepowers of destiny haven't forgotten the crime--they've onl ydelayed the punishment. Now it has started, however, with thetempest and the l oss of Ferdinand. Ariel promises the villains"Ling'ring perdition"--prolonged d amnation, worse than any quickdeath--unless they repent their crime and lead a b lameless lifeon the desolate island. With a clap of thunder, he vanishes.The ot her spirits reappear with "mocks and mows" (jeers andgrimaces)--behavior very di fferent from the elaborate courtesywhich earlier led Gonzalo to praise their man ners. NOTE: Ariel has delivered the classic Christian message:Repent and be s aved; repent or be damned. Shakespeare willfurther develop this deeply religiou s theme in the final act. Prospero praises Ariel's excellent performance, noti ng thatthe other spirits have done well, too. He's pleased that hisenemies "now are in my power" and he exits to visit Ferdinandand Miranda. Gonzalo, meanwhi le, is puzzled: why is Alonso suddenlystaring so wildly? Alonso's answer seems almost deranged: thewaves, the winds, the thunder spoke to him during the temp est,and what they uttered was: "Prospero." (When he says, "it didbass my trespa ss," he's using a musical figure, turning hiscrime or "trespass" into music to w hich the thunder, speakingProspero's name, provided the bass line.) Understandin g thatFerdinand was snatched from him as a punishment, he determinesin a fit of despair to kill himself and join his son in theunderwater mud. Alonso then runs out. Sebastian and Antonio, however, don't seem to feel theremorse that Ariel told them would be their only salvation.Instead, they agree to fight the spirit s, even though they'vejust seen how useless that is. They too dash out. The o thers may not have heard Ariel's speech, but Gonzalo atleast understands what's happened: their old guilt aboutProspero has worked on the "three men of sin" li ke a slow poisonand suddenly driven them mad. Gonzalo suggests that they bewatc hed closely lest they do harm to themselves in theirinsanity. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMP EST: LINES 1-59 Prospero is addressing Ferdinand in a tone very differentfrom his earlier crustiness. The trials he put the young manthrough were severe, bu t Miranda was worth the struggle.Prospero estimates her value at "a third of min e own life," aline that readers have interpreted in several ways. Is hedividing "mine own life" into himself, his dead wife, andMiranda; or, perhaps, into hims elf, Miranda, and his kingdom?Or does he mean that raising his fifteen-year-old daughter hastaken a third of his forty-five years? In any case, he'soffering he r now to the young prince, who has passed all histests to Prospero's great satis faction. Ferdinand may besmiling at Prospero's extravagant praise, because Pros peroassures him that he isn't exaggerating, but Ferdinand declaresthat he'd beli eve him even if an oracle pronounced the opposite.(An oracle in Greek and Roman religion, was the utterance of adeity, usually spoken by a priest or priestess.) Prospero then delivers a speech that has caused many readersto wonder about i ts meaning. There's nothing unusual inpraising chastity before marriage--many p arents still do it.But Prospero speaks so harshly--more like the severe old fath

erof the earlier acts--that his words border on gracelessness.Instead of emphasi zing chastity's positive aspects, he deliversa warning that is very nearly a thr eat: if Ferdinand takesMiranda's virginity before their wedding day, their marr iagewill be full of "disdain" and "discord"; he also speaks of"barren hate," imp lying that they won't have any children. Some readers have felt that Prospero' s tone is inappropriatehere--hasn't he been hard enough on Ferdinand already? D o youagree with them? Ferdinand's reply, however, shows that heisn't offended. He agrees that premarital sex would threatenthe peace of the marriage, as well as "fair issue" or healthychildren. He promises Prospero that no matter what th etemptation, he'll preserve Miranda's virginity so he'll be ableto enjoy the "ed ge"--the keen pleasure--of sexual love on theirwedding day. He ends by picturin g that day, When I shall think or Phoebus' steeds are foundered Or Night kep t chained below. That is, he'll be so impatient for his wedding night that itw ill seem either that the horses that draw the sun god, Phoebus,have gone lame, p rolonging the daylight, or that Night(personified here) is being kept in chains so he can't arrivewhen he's supposed to. It's an elaborate flourish, not the ki ndof speech you would choose in the heat of passion. Ferdinand isthus talking a bout chastity abstractly. NOTE: CHASTITY AND SELF-CONTROL Prospero's speech i s morethan the advice of a protective father to his prospectiveson-in-law; it's central to the meaning of The Tempest.Chastity is a convenient symbol for genera l self-control, anability to govern one's appetites. The personification ofappe tite in the play is Caliban, who has no control over his owndesires, and who, yo u'll remember, once tried to rape Miranda.Thus the contrast between him and the chaste Ferdinand is clear.In Shakespeare's day, self-control was regarded as an importantattribute of the successful magician as well as the successfulruler. Y ou could argue that Prospero's downfall in Milan wasdue to his lack of self-cont rol: he allowed Antonio to takeover the reins of government so he could satisfy his ownuncontrollable appetite for knowledge. On his island, Prosperohas to le arn the lesson of self-control. You'll see him putthis lesson into practice in the fifth act, when he mustdemonstrate his self-control by restraining his anger . Prospero, pleased by Ferdinand's speech, leaves the young manchatting with M iranda while he calls Ariel, who appearsimmediately. The magician commends the way Ariel and the lesserspirits ("thy meaner fellows") carried off the performan ce atthe banquet. Now he wants them to perform for Ferdinand andMiranda. He te lls Ariel to bring the lesser spirits (the"rabble") and gives him command over t hem. Ariel declares hisreadiness with a light and airy five-line rhyme. When Prospero turns around again, evidently the young loversare doing more than chatt ing, because Prospero has to admonishthem to be more temperate. Probably they a re embracing. Oaths,after all, mean very little in the heat of the moment.Ferdi nand's response has been variously interpreted: The white cold virgin snow upo n my heart Abates the ardor of my liver. The liver was considered the seat o f sexual passion. Somereaders think Ferdinand is saying that the idea of Mirand a, likesnow on his heart, cools his passion. Other readers, however,think he's speaking more literally: Miranda's breast againsthis heart cools his passion--t hough it's hard to imagine, nomatter how pure Miranda is, how embracing her coul d lessen hispassion. Of course, a young man who has been caught likeFerdinand h as, might have to talk his way rapidly out of anembarrassing situation. Prospe ro replies with a curt "Well," but it's uncertainwhether he accepts Ferdinand's response or just doesn't want toargue. He summons Ariel and his fellow spirits to start themasque. NOTE: "NO TONGUE! ALL EYES! BE SILENT." Prospero'sadmon ition is more than just a request for polite attention. Itwas thought that sile nce was absolutely necessary during magicaloperations; the spirits would flee at the sound of human voices(which in fact is very like what happens at the close of themasque). Later Prospero warns, "Hush and be mute,/Or else ourspell is mar red." ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: LINES 60-142 Before considering the play-withina-play that the spiritsnow present in Ferdinand and Miranda's honor, you will ne ed somebackground on this unique form of drama, known as a masque. Themasque ev olved from older spectacles and games; in its medievalform, it involved a surpri se visit by masked dancers to anunwitting person's home. By the time of Queen E lizabeth I, whoruled England from 1558 until her death in 1603, it had becomepop

ular at court and had already developed formal conventions.But it was really und er Elizabeth's successor, James I, whoruled from 1603 to 1625, that the masque r eached its height as adramatic form. The story line of a masque was often insi gnificant; theemphasis was on spectacle. Huge sums of money were spent onsets a nd costumes. Music and dance were also importantelements. It's generally agree d that nothing more spectacularhas ever been presented on the English stage. Yo u might evencompare these spectacles to multimillion-dollar science-fictionfilms , especially because these movies also usually depend moreon spectacle than on c ontent. Masques were often performed on such special occasions as awedding or, as here, a betrothal. This betrothal masque madeThe Tempest a particularly app ropriate play to revive at court,as indeed it was, during the winter of 1612-161 3, as part of aseries of entertainments that celebrated the betrothal of KingJam es' daughter Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine (an electorwas a German prince) d uring his visit to the English court. Because the masque was such a popular fo rm, it's notsurprising that several of Shakespeare's plays show itsinfluence. I n addition to the actual masque in The Tempest,some readers have pointed out mas quelike elements in the overallstructure of the play. Prospero resembles a trad itional masque"presenter," a ringmaster who introduces the other charactersand c ontrols their actions. In a sense, the action of TheTempest has as much in comm on with the static spectacle of themasque as with the developing tension and res olution of thetraditional five-act drama. Little true tension develops;there's never much uncertainty about the outcome of the plot.This isn't to say that The Tempest is a masque in disguise;however, you can see that Shakespeare responded to one of thepopular dramatic forms of his time. The masque opens with a speec h by Iris, who in Greekmythology was the messenger of the gods as well as goddes s ofthe rainbow. Thus, Ceres addresses her as "many-coloredmessenger" and as "h eavenly bow." Iris is speaking for Juno,queen of the gods. (Ceres and Juno are Roman names for theGreek goddesses Demeter and Hera.) Although her meaning is qu itesimple ("Please come"), Shakespeare gives her sixteen lines ofhighly elaborat e, highly artificial verse. The diction in thismasque is far more stilted than anywhere else in The Tempest,which has led some readers to suspect that another writer had ahand in it. In fact, however, the conventions of the masquedemanded a much more formal diction than did a five-act drama,In addition, there's proba bly an element of parody: Shakespearemay be poking gentle fun at the stilted ve rse of the popularmasques. Shakespeare's "plays within plays" are often cast in verse much more artificial than his usual expert poetry. Youmay be familiar wit h the rhymed couplets of the travelingplayers in Act III of Hamlet, or the ridic ulous "Pyramus andThisby" in Act V of A Midsummer Night's Dream. As goddess of the harvest and, by extension, of fertility,Ceres is a natural choice to bless a young couple who want tohave children. In a similar vein, Juno is the protect or ofmarriage. Iris's speech includes numerous images of thefertility associate d with her: fields of wheat, rye, barley,pruned vineyards, and so forth. Iris announces that Juno isalready approaching in a chariot drawn by the peacocks tha t wereher special birds. Although the stage direction says, "Junodescends," Jun o doesn't speak for another thirty lines. It'spossible that she appeared at thi s point in a device thatdescended very slowly to the stage. Ceres enters, with an equally elaborate speech and an equallysimple point: What does Juno want? Iris replies, more briefly,that Juno wants her to celebrate and bless a betrotha l, "acontract of true love." Ceres returns to the theme of chastity that Prosp ero andFerdinand discussed earlier. She wants to know if Venus and herson Cupid are with Juno. Although Juno is the protector ofmarriage, Venus is the goddess of love and of the passion aboutwhich Prospero has been warning Ferdinand. Cup id carried a bowand arrows, and anyone he pierced would fall passionately inlove . Ceres has a particular reason to resent Venus and Cupid, whoshe says "did pl ot/The means that dusky Dis my daughter got."She's alluding to the way the god o f the underworld, Dis (betterknown as Hades or Pluto), kidnapped her daughter Pe rsephone(Proserpine). Ceres' grief was said to be the cause ofwinter. In a re ply rich with classical allusions, Iris assures Ceresthat although Venus and Cup id had been planning some mischief,it's been averted. Iris may be referring to the embrace betweenFerdinand and Miranda that Prospero promptly ended. The dove

isVenus's bird; thus, she and Cupid travel "Dove-drawn" away fromthem and towar d Paphos, the city in Cyprus that was the centerof her cult. She is referred to as "Mars's hot minion" becauseMars, the god of war, was her lover. The core of Iris's speechis her assurance "that no bed-right shall be paid/Till Hymen'storc h be lighted." Hymen is the god of the wedding feast; he wasoften pictured carry ing a torch. Iris means that Ferdinand andMiranda won't sleep together until af ter the wedding. Finally Juno appears, greets Ceres, and invites her to joinhe r in singing a blessing to Ferdinand and Miranda. Their songwas probably divide d, with Juno singing the first four lines,which refer specifically to her, and C eres singing the remainingeight, which are mainly about her particular concerns, harvestand abundance ("foison"). When she sings, Spring come to you at the f arthest In the very end of harvest she's saying, "May spring come right on t he heels of fall";in other words, "May your lives be without winter." Thesentime nt was a conventional one in Shakespeare's day. Ferdinand is so impressed with the masque that he can'tresist offering a compliment. He asks whether the play ers arespirits; Prospero confirms that they are and that he called themup himsel f. Ferdinand chatters on that Prospero is wise andthat the island resembles par adise. At this point, Prosperowarns him to be quiet: the masque isn't finished , and humantalk could break the spell. At the behest of Juno and Ceres, Iris c alls forth a group ofNaiads, or water nymphs, and another group of reapers. The masque closes with its traditional ending, a dance. (In courtmasques, the dance rs were often drawn from among thespectators.) Toward the end of this graceful e ntertainment,however, Prospero suddenly remembers the conspiracy of Caliban,Trin culo, and Stephano to murder him. His face darkens, and hisagitated words break the spell. Sorrowfully, the spirits vanishin a confused mass. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TE MPEST: LINES 143-266 It's probably at this point that Prospero seems leastgod like, most human and fallible. The change that's come overhim is so sudden, and so extreme, that it upsets both Ferdinandand Miranda. Miranda says she's never seen her father so angry.But Prospero notices their concern and urges them not to worry.Then, beginning with "Our revels now are ended," he delivers themost fa mous and, many readers believe, the most beautiful linesof poetry in the play. The masque, by its very nature, was a form that left theaudience thinking about the transitory nature of life. Its timespan was brief, and at its end the audi ence was probablythinking rather sadly about how the maskers would disband andth e breathtaking scenery would be dismantled. ("Thecloud-capped towers, the gorge ous palaces,/The solemn temples,The great globe itself" were probably all pieces of masquescenery.) Thus, the kind of sentiment that Prospero now deliverswas, n ot surprisingly, rather commonplace at the end of masques.After viewing a vision of perfection--an ideal world of beautyand abundance, a world without winter--t he thought of Calibanreturns Prospero sharply to the real world of brutality and evil. His immediate anger yields to profound depression. As hecontemplates the end of the masque, it seems to him for a momentthat life is equally insubstanti al: "We are such stuff/Asdreams are made on [of]." Have you ever felt this way in amoment of depression--you can work, study, exhaust yourselftrying to do good ; however, the final reality is death. AsProspero says, "our little life/Is rou nded"--that is, finishedoff--"with a sleep." But Prospero at least recognizes that his bleak thoughts arethe result of his melancholy mood. He tells the youn g lovers tobear with him: he only needs to walk it off and collecthimself. The y understand and exit obediently, wishing him peaceof mind. Prospero summons A riel: "Come with a thought."Traditionally, spirits were supposed to be able to travel asfast as thought, and thus appear at their masters' desire.Prospero remi nds him that it's time to deal with Caliban, andAriel tells him that the matter was on his mind, too, "when Ipresented Ceres." NOTE: This phrase could mean s imply that Ariel was the"presenter" of the masque, but it might also mean "when I playedCeres." Ariel probably played one of the roles, though Iriswould be as l ikely a choice as Ceres. At a question from Prospero, Ariel tells you what's h appenedto Caliban and his cohorts since you last saw them. They weredrunk when he surprised them with his magic music. Theyfollowed, unable to resist, like ca lves after their mother.Then Ariel started playing tricks. He led them through briarsand thorns, and finally into a pond with a coat of filthy scum.There they

stood, with the water chin-high and smelling so awfulthat it "O'erstunk their fe et." Prospero is rather vindictively satisfied at this report, andhe sends Ari el off for "stale"--decoys--with which to trap theconspirators. He then utters some extremely bitter thoughts onthe subject of Caliban. The monster, he says, is "a borndevil," which is probably literally true, as Caliban's fatherwas a dem on. NOTE: Don't forget that the "three men of sin" (Alonso,Antonio, and Sebas tian) are, according to Prospero, "worse thandevils." The difference between Cal iban and them lies in theirrespective low and high natures. Caliban was born lo w; thus,he's not responsible for his beastliness. This is not the casewith the noblemen, however. Prospero assails Caliban as a beast "on whose nature/Nurtur ecan never stick." This pun summarizes one of the play'simportant themes. Lowbo rn Caliban has a low nature; thus,"nurture"--Prospero's nurturing education--can 't stick to it anddo him any good. The embittered Prospero laments the humaneef forts he wasted on the monster: "all, all lost, quite lost."In that aching repe tition, you can sense Prospero's anguish.But perhaps Prospero is really lamentin g his own failure. Afterall, it isn't Caliban's fault that he can't be educated , but itmay be Prospero's fault that he failed to recognize this fact.Prospero h as failed twice to keep persons or beasts at theirproper station. First he elev ated Antonio to the level of rulerwhile he himself studied undisturbed; then he tried to educateCaliban. In both cases it may be impossible for Prospero toreve rse the damage. Antonio hasn't shown any signs ofrepenting. And there's no way for Prospero to take backCaliban's education and return his contentment with hi s lowstation. Instead of accepting the blame, Prospero seems to vent arather c ruel bitterness: "I will plague them all,/Even toroaring." Do you think he is b eing unfair? He may have beenmistaken in trying to educate Caliban, but he was erring on theside of kindness. Surely he has the right to be angry upondiscover ing a plot to murder him. Or do you feel that as aruler, Prospero should have k nown better than to treat Calibanas he did? To what extent do you think Prosper o is wrong? NOTE: Prospero observes, "And as with age his body ugliergrows,/S o his mind cankers"--his thoughts grow more evil. Noteagain that physical uglin ess is related to moral vice, a themediscussed in the Note at the end of Act I, Scene II. Ariel returns laden with "glistering apparel," perhaps the"rich garm ents" that Gonzalo long ago supplied Prospero with.When the three conspirators e nter, they are soaking wet andsmell terrible. Stephano and Trinculo are particu larly irkedthat they've lost their bottles; Stephano is ready to dive forthe win e. Caliban pleads for quiet: he doesn't want them towake Prospero. Then Steph ano and Trinculo notice thegarments. NOTE: Trinculo's exclamation--"O King St ephano! O peer! Oworthy Stephano, look what a wardrobe here is for thee"--is a joking allusion to a popular ballad. One version of it is sungin Act II, Scene III of Shakespeare's Othello: King Stephen was and a worthy peer His breeche s cost him but a crown. Stephano and Trinculo grab the clothes so greedily tha t theyforget all about their murder plot. Caliban is morelevel-headed. He warn s them to ignore the trousers, which are adecoy, but they act like children, the ir appetites uncontrolled,enthralled by every new bauble. They pile fine clothe s on theprotesting monster. NOTE: PUNS ON "LINE" Prospero directs Ariel to ha ng thegarments on a line. It's uncertain whether the words means"clothes-line" or "lime tree," but it doesn't really matter.Stephano and Trinculo, however, off er a number of puns on theword "line." First it's the "line" on which the clothe s arehanging. Next a jerkin (jacket) is "under the line"--across theequator. ( It's a "bald jerkin," apparently, because when peoplecrossed the equator, they s upposedly ran fevers that made theirhair fall out.) Then they're stealing "by li ne andlevel"--literally, by plumb-line and carpenter's level, but thephrase mean s "according to rule." When Trinculo tells Caliban toput some lime on his finger s, he's probably taking the pun evenfurther. "Lime" is birdlime, a sticky subst ance that was usedto snare birds, and which was almost a synonym for theft(simil ar to "sticky fingers"). Finally, justice arrives, in the form of further spec tacle.The spirits return as hounds, set on by Prospero and Ariel, andchase away the three conspirators. You can imagine the comicpossibilities. But perhaps th ere's an undertone of cruelty,too, as Prospero orders his goblins to torment the m withconvulsions, cramps, and pinches. Ariel cries, "Hark, theyroar!"--fulfili

ng Prospero's vow to "plague them all,/Even toroaring." This is Prospero's supre me moment of power: "At thishour/ Lies at my mercy all mine enemies." As the ac t closes,he's in complete control. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: LINES 1-57 As previ ously noted, The Tempest is one of the few plays thatShakespeare actually cast i n classical five-act structure.Hence the break between Acts IV and V, even thoug h Act V openswith the same two characters onstage and little, if any, timehaving past. It's six o'clock, the hour that Prospero earlier forecastwould mark the end of his plan. The "three men of sin," Arielinforms him, are gathered in a n earby lime ("line") grove,gripped by an enchanted madness from which only Prospe ro canrelease them. The others are mourning them, with the tearfulGonzalo formi ng an especially pitiful spectacle. The sightwould make Prospero's feelings gro w tender, Ariel tells him; hisown feelings certainly would if he were human. Re member thatAriel is a spirit; thus, he can only imagine human feelings. Some r eaders view Ariel's comment as the turning point in thedrama, because it prompts Prospero's forgiveness. Others arguethat because Prospero has arranged the mar riage of Ferdinand andMiranda, he was obviously planning to forgive his enemies allalong. Which view do you agree with? Prospero won't be outdoneby a spirit w hen he himself is "One of their kind"--that is,human--and thus should be "kindli er" affected than the inhumanAriel. (This pun on "kind"--both "kindhearted" and "sort,"--isone of Shakespeare's favorites.) Prospero doesn't downplay hissuffer ings. He's still aggrieved when he thinks of his enemiesand "their high wrongs. " It's something of a higher order thanemotion--"my nobler reason" working "'gai nst my fury"--thatconvinces him to forgive them. He forgives them not so muchbe cause he wants to as because he ought to: "the rarer actionis/In virtue than in vengeance." This concise observationcrystallizes a major theme of the play. Ch ristian virtue, withits great emphasis on forgiveness, is a higher mode of behav iorthan pagan revenge. Remember that this sentiment, thoughconventional, was ut tered before an audience for whom therevenge tragedy was a major form of enterta inment. NOTE: THE RELIGIOUS INTERPRETATION Do you see The Tempest asa deeply Christian drama? If so, you will place a great deal ofemphasis on the above lin es, as well as on the ones that follow.Prospero declares that his only purpose i n tormenting Alonso,Sebastian, and Antonio is to make them repent. As you'llrec all, this was also Ariel's message in Act III, Scene III.Readers who support a r eligious interpretation point out thatProspero isn't merely godlike: he stands in relation to theother characters much as God traditionally does tohumanity--ju dging, punishing, forgiving. In the figure of Arielyou might think he even has an angel. Other readers, however,feel that this interpretation can be carried t oo far. Theypoint out that Prospero, powerful and wise as he is, isn'tperfect. You already know of his failures with Antonio andCaliban. In addition, his for giveness, though noble, is tingedwith anger; it isn't quite the all-embracing lo ve of acompletely merciful God. At a word from Prospero, Ariel leaves to fetch thewrongdoers. Prospero now delivers the soliloquy that'sgenerally known as hi s farewell to his art. This speech can bedivided into three roughly equal parts . The first eight linesform an address to his magical helpers: the fairies who leaveno footprints on the beach, the puppet-sized elves who makesmall circles o f discolored grass, sometimes called "fairycircles," on the ground, and who make mushrooms grow overnight(a natural phenomenon that seems magical), and so forth . Lines 41 to 50 describe some of Prospero's magical feats.He's dimmed the sun at noon. He's made the wind blow andcreated huge waves which he describes as s etting the sea at warwith the sky). He's called forth thunder and lightning and shaken the ground--in other words, he's created tempests. He'seven summoned the dead from their graves. NOTE: PROSPERO'S MAGIC Prospero is clearly a good ma gicianwhose "white magic" is very different from the "black magic" ofCaliban's m other, the witch Sycorax. White magicians gainedtheir abilities only through lo ng study and strict self-control;black magicians made pacts with demons. (Sycor ax worshipped thedemon Setebos and mated with a devil to produce Caliban.) Magic was a serious subject to Shakespeare's audience. King James Iwas an authority o n the subject, and Shakespeare had to presentmagic very carefully on the stage. He could have createdserious legal problems for himself and the King's Men if h isplay seemed to glorify black magic. Prospero's list of his accomplishments h

as therefore createda snag for Shakespeare scholars. Getting spirits to work fo rthem was the natural province of white magicians; however,raising storms, and e specially raising the dead, were the domainof black magicians. Many of Prospero 's claims seem to be basedon lines in Book III of the Metamorphoses by the Roman poetOvid. Shakespeare was apparently more engrossed in creating aplay than in keeping the domains of white and black magiciansseparate. Raising the dead, whi ch is found in theMetamorphoses, doesn't play a serious role in the plot. Raisi nga storm, however, does--it's essential both to the story and tothe title of th e play. In any case, Prospero and Ariel's tempest doesn't harmanybody. It doe sn't even stain the clothes of the survivors ofthe shipwreck. In fact, the stor m that seemed so terrible willturn out to be a blessing. Thus, Prospero can har dly beconvicted of performing evil magic. Nevertheless, the fact thatProspero n ow renounces his magic probably is related to the poorreputation sorcery had in Shakespeare's England. Prospero hasaccomplished his goals with his magic. Now he demonstrates hisgood faith by giving it up. The last eight lines of Prosper o's soliloquy comprise hisactual renunciation. His plan completed, he says, he' ll breakand bury his magic staff and throw his magic book into the sea.But he'll require two or three more spells. The first is a"heavenly music" to bring Alon so, Antonio, and Sebastian out oftheir madness; a stage direction now calls for "solemn music." NOTE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL INTERPRETATION As was notedearlier , one popular theory identifies Prospero with Shakespearehimself. Like a skille d dramatic poet, Prospero manipulates thecharacters, involving them in situation s that he created forthem. In this interpretation, Prospero's magic stands forS hakespeare's poetry. Ariel and Caliban can even be regarded astwo different asp ects of the poet. Ariel, with his lightness,elegance, and speed-of-thought grac e, is the poet's genius.Caliban is his appetite or desire, and the fact that Pro sperokeeps him chained down in a rocky den denotes the poet'sself-control or sel f-discipline. Prospero's farewell to his art is central to theautobiographical interpretation. The Tempest may be the lastplay that Shakespeare wrote, or wro te alone. Just before or,more probably, just after he created it, he retired fr omtheatrical life in London to the quiet country village of hisbirth, Stratfordon-Avon. We don't know why; he doesn't seem tohave been ill. In his late forti es, he could reflect on anactive and successful career in the theater. Perhaps he justwanted to enjoy his leisure. In any case, readers looking forhints of au tobiography see Prospero's farewell to his art as aparallel to Shakespeare's far ewell to his own dramatic art.Indeed, there's something melancholy and final abo ut the tone ofthe entire play. On the other hand, some readers find the autobi ographicalinterpretation unlikely. They argue that it isn't necessary tolook ou tside the work to find its meaning. They feel that it'sludicrous to try to make The Tempest fit the mold ofShakespeare's life, about which very little is known . No matterhow you feel about this interpretation, it's probably true thatat th is point in his own career, Shakespeare could appreciateProspero's emotions. It 's this deep empathy that makes thespeech so convincing. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: LINES 58-215 Prospero has drawn a magic circle on the ground (a typicalfeatur e of magic ceremonies), into which Ariel leads Alonso andhis court. All six men stand there frozen in enchantment, asthe solemn melody gradually soothes the th ree maddened "men ofsin." (Music was--and still is--a widely accepted therapy fo rnervous agitation.) Although moved by Gonzalo's tears, Prospero can't resistr ehashing the crimes committed against him. It's clear thatthough he's planning to forgive them, he still feels wronged.Because the men are regaining consciousn ess little by little, hesends Ariel to fetch the royal robes by which they'll re cognizehim as the deposed Duke of Milan. As Ariel dresses Prospero, he sings t he last of his fairysongs; this one tells of sucking nectar with the bees and ri dingon the backs of bats. Then Prospero sends him to the ship toget the master (captain) and the boatswain. By now the noblemen are coming out of the spell. Gonzalo,the first to speak, calls on "some heavenly power" to get themoff this eerie island. Note that even when he's terrified hetrusts in Providence. Obser ving rank, Prospero speaks first tothe flabbergasted king. He announces that he 's the "wrongedDuke of Milan," and before Alonso can respond he embraces him tod emonstrate his lack of anger. Alonso has endured so much in the past hours tha

t he doesn'tknow whether to believe Prospero or not. At least Prosperofeels rea l to the touch--real enough to make Alonso growdefensive: "Thy dukedom I resign ," he quickly assures him. Ofcourse, Alonso has never been ruler of Prospero's dukedom. Herefers to the annual tribute that Milan has been paying Naplessince Prospero was ousted. Prospero embraces his old friend Gonzalo, who, like Alons o,isn't quite sure that all this is really happening. He'stasting "some subtlet ies o' th' isle," Prospero tells him."Subtleties" were Renaissance pastries in t he shapes of castles,temples, and so forth; Prospero is joking that Gonzalo can' tbelieve that what he's seeing is any more real than thosepastries. Prospero w elcomes them all; then, almost in the same breath,he threatens Sebastian and Ant onio. He tells them in an asidethat he knows all about their plot against Alons o. Withdistinct overtones of blackmail, perhaps in order to be able tokeep them in line in the future, he promises to remain silent,at least for the moment. NOTE: When Sebastian says, "The devil speaks in him," heisn't merely making a r ude comment. Sebastian doesn't know thatProspero is a white magician; thus, he has every reason tobelieve he's a sorcerer in league with the devil. Prospero now formally forgives Antonio. Read this speechcarefully; do you think Prospero has conquered his anger andresentment? Notice that he begins by addressing his brotherformally, as "you"; however, with forgiveness comes the moreintimate "th ou" form: For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother Would even infect m y mouth, I do forgive Thy rankest fault--all of them; and require My dukedom of thee, which perforce I know Thou must restore. NOTE: FORGIVENESS AND RE PENTANCE This is one of severalplaces in Shakespeare's comedies where a villain is forgiveneven though he seems to deserve punishment rather than mercy.Some rea ders think Shakespeare is suggesting that humanity is sodepraved that Prospero m ust forgive, because he can't spend hislife drowning in hate. In a Christian vi ew, everyone is flawed;everyone needs to be forgiven. Prospero knows how villai nousAntonio is, but as he's explained already, he's using his reasoninstead of h is anger because he knows that virtue is superior tovengeance. It's not diffic ult for Prospero to forgive Alonso. The Kingis genuinely remorseful; he even pl eads for forgiveness. Incontrast, Antonio shows no remorse at all. Although bo th Arieland Prospero have stressed the importance of repentance, Antoniogives no indication, either now or later, that he's sorry forhis crimes. Prospero's kin dness to him, like his kindness toCaliban, doesn't improve him, for Antonio is a true villain. This doesn't mean, however, that Prospero is wrong to forgiveAn tonio. Shakespeare's audience was composed of Christians, andthey would have ag reed wholeheartedly that forgiveness wasessential. It does mean that in the fut ure, Prospero would befoolish to put much trust in his brother. As a wise princ e, heshould know how to temper Christian virtue with princelyauthority. In fact , he does this here, demonstrating virtue byforgiving, and authority by demandin g the return of hisdukedom. As the thought of Ferdinand strikes Alonso again, he growsmiserable once more. His loss is so deep, he claims, thatpatience can't help. Prospero gently rebukes him: You haven'treally sought help from patienc e. NOTE: PATIENCE This theme correlates with the notion ofProvidence. A good Christian trusts in God; no matter howterrible events seem on the surface, a be nevolent God iswatching. Gonzalo personifies this virtue. He's alwayshopeful, always optimistic; in contrast, impatient King Alonsois always sure that things will turn out for the worst. Thus,the tempest can teach Alonso an important les son in patience:an apparent disaster can turn out to be a blessing. Prospero c laims that just as Alonso lost a son in thetempest, he, Prospero, lost a daughte r. Prospero is referringto the fact that he has "lost" Miranda to Ferdinand. W henAlonso cries out that he wishes their children were alive asKing and Queen of Naples, Shakespeare is sharing a joke withyou, because you know that not only a re they alive, they willsomeday rule Naples. Prospero promises to explain the whole story when there'smore time. He welcomes them all again, and, he stretche s thetruth by claiming that here in his small dominion he has nosubjects. But b ecause Alonso has returned his dukedom, Prosperowill give him "as good a thing." Probably by throwing back acurtain, he reveals Ferdinand and Miranda playing ch ess. Thelovers, absorbed in their game, don't notice the others atfirst. Their words here have caused some confusion, but thegeneral meaning is clear: Mirand

a is teasing Ferdinand aboutcheating, and he's swearing innocence. Alonso's fi rst response is characteristic: he's worried. Ifthis is another illusion, he s ays pessimistically, then he'llhave lost his son twice. Ferdinand notices his f ather, and hiswords express the theme of Providence in a nutshell: "Thoughthe s eas threaten, they are merciful." Miranda's wonder is different. She's never seen so manypeople before, and she's awed by their noble appearance: How beaut eous mankind is! O brave new world That has such people in't! "Brave" is us ed here, as elsewhere, to mean excellent orfine. These are among the most famo us lines in The Tempest. TheEnglish novelist Aldous Huxley took the title of hi s futuristicnovel Brave New World from them. He uses the word ironically,though , because the future he depicted was anything butexcellent. You can feel Mirand a's wonder and admiration, andonce more you should recall the notion of humanity created inGod's image. But Shakespeare also knows that among these"goodly crea tures" there lurk villains like Sebastian andAntonio. Thus, he gives Prospero t he rather wry comment, "'Tisnew to thee." Prospero knows that the novelty will w ear off;someday a sadder but wiser Miranda will learn to be morediscriminating. Like Ferdinand when he first beheld Miranda in Act I, Alonsois ready to take t he young woman for a goddess. But Ferdinand,invoking Providence once again, ass ures him that she's mortaland she's his. He asks his father's pardon for having becomebetrothed without his permission. Alonso, in turn, wants to askMiranda's pardon for his long-ago treachery in casting her andher father out to sea. Pro spero, however, generously insiststhat there's no reason to dwell on an old sorr ow, Gonzalo hasn'tsaid much up to this point. He explains that he was inwardlyw eeping, but now the good-natured old councilor is ready totalk. He calls upon t he gods (a Renaissance convention; hemeans God) to bless the young couple. He s ees clearly now thatit was Providence that brought them to the island and turned disaster into blessing. And he asks, Was Milan thrust from Milan that his iss ue Should become kings of Naples? That is, was the Duke of Milan, Prospero, banished from thecity-state of Milan so that his offspring--Miranda's childrenan d grandchildren--should become kings of Naples? After urgingeveryone to rejoice , he delivers the play's great message ofProvidence. In one voyage, Claribel fo und a husband at Tunis;Ferdinand found a wife "Where he himself was lost," onPro spero's island; and Prospero regained his dukedom. Perhapshe's overwhelmed by h is beautiful language, because he adds that"all of us [found] ourselves/When no man was his own,"suggesting that everyone has acquired self-knowledge. In thegl ory of the moment, no one thinks about what Gonzalo has said.It's true for Alons o and Ferdinand, but is it true forSebastian, Antonio, and Gonzalo? Alonso ble sses the young lovers, and Gonzalo offers a hearty"Amen." Ariel returns leading the master of the ship and theboatswain, though they, of course, can't see him. You may be alittle puzzled at Gonzalo's jokes about the boatswain'sblasphemy, b ecause there's nothing in the boatswain's lineseither here or in Act I that real ly qualifies as blasphemy.Possibly the boatswain's oaths were censored from the publishedversion of the play. The boatswain tells an amazing story. He and th e master wereasleep with the other sailors (Ariel's enchanted sleep) and werewak ened by horrible noises. Suddenly they were looking at theship, which appeared to be in excellent condition, even thoughthey'd given it up for ruined some thre e hours earlier. Thenjust as suddenly they were brought dazed to this spot. P rospero, after promising to explain everything later,commands Ariel to bring in Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo.They enter in their stolen clothing, and the ton e shifts tocomedy again. NOTE: CALIBAN, MIRANDA, AND HUMAN BEAUTY When Caliba nregards the assembled group, he cries, "These be brave spiritsindeed!" This isn 't the first time a character mistakes humanbeauty for a supernatural quality. Recall that in Act I, whenMiranda and Ferdinand first saw each other, she though t he was aspirit or a "thing divine"; he addressed her as a goddess, justas Alon so did earlier in this act. Now Caliban, too, issufficiently awed by human sple ndor to take the company forspirits. He immediately recognizes their superiorit y over him,just as he recognizes Prospero's authority: "How fine my masteris!"-dressed in his robes as Duke of Milan. "I am afraid/Hewill chastise me." The i mplication is that the unteachableCaliban has learned a lesson; at least, he app ears in a betterlight throughout this scene than do the unrepentant Sebastianand

Antonio. There is no mistaking the echo in Caliban's words ofMiranda's "O bra ve new world/That has such people in't!" For thelast time, Shakespeare draws a p arallel between them; this time,however, rather than holding Caliban up for disa pproval,Shakespeare compares him favorably with Miranda. In your lastview of Ca liban, you see a monster who's not entirelyunsympathetic. If his nature is low, at least he's learned hisplace; unlike some of the higher-natured human beings on stage,at least he regrets his wrongs. When Antonio sees Caliban, his reacti on is very much likeStephano's and Trinculo's in Act II. He calls the monster a "fish" (a reference to Caliban's general oddity, not to hisaquatic nature) and r eflects that he's "marketable," that is,that he could be displayed as a freak. Prospero reveals that Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban robbedhim and plotted to kill him. But he doesn't mention Antonio andSebastian's plot against Alonso. S tephano and Trinculo, hedeclares, are Alonso's men; he acknowledges Caliban as h isown. NOTE: This straightforward statement has been cited byreaders who supp ort an autobiographical reading of the play.These readers think that Prospero is saying that this dark,physical, greedy thing (Caliban) is one side of his perso nality,but he keeps it under control. Do you agree, or do you haveanother expla nation? Trinculo lightens the mood by making puns on "in a pickle"(in a mess) and "pickled" (both drunk and preserved). He addsthat he's so pickled that he w on't have to worry about flies,for pickling preserved meat from flies. Stephano is in so muchpain from the briars, the pond, and the goblin hounds Prosperoand Ariel set on them that he says he's "not Stephano, but acramp." But Prospero's forgiving mood is pervasive, and he sendsCaliban off, with Stephano and Trincul o, to clean his cell,promising a pardon if Caliban does his task well. Caliban' sreply tells you that he may really have learned something fromhis experiences. He may be one of the characters who, asGonzalo suggested, has acquired self-kno wledge. He resolves to"be wise hereafter,/And seek for grace"; he perceives wha t afool he was to mistake Stephano and Trinculo for gods. Standingnext to the r est of the magnificent company, he probably seesthem more easily for what they r eally are. Alonso orders Stephano and Trinculo to put the treasure backwhere t hey found it, and Sebastian adds, "Or stole it rather."Both Alonso and Sebastian helped steal Milan from Prospero;Sebastian even plotted to steal the crown from Alonso. Do youfind their lines here hypocritical? Shakespeare may be makingge ntle fun of them here, but he doesn't press the point. Prospero tells the grou p that he'll relate the story of hislife on the island. After that, he promises , they'll sail backto Naples, where Ferdinand and Miranda will be married; thenh e'll return to Milan, where "Every third thought shall be mygrave." In Act IV he 'd said that Miranda made up "a third ofmine own life,/Or that for which I live. " Perhaps every firstand second thought will be of his daughter and his dukedom. Orit may be a figure of speech for thinking a great deal aboutdeath. Prosper o's last promise is that the winds will be so helpfulthat their ship will catch up with the rest of King Alonso'sfleet before it reaches Naples. Speeding the s hip homeward isAriel's last assignment; after that, he tells the spirit, "Befree , and fare thou well!" With this command, the curtain fallson the final act. ^^^ ^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: EPILOGUE At the end of Act V, the actor playing Prospero returns tothe stage and addresses the audience directly in twenty brief,rhyming lines. He requests that just as he pardoned Antonio,the audience should pardon any faults in the production. Prospero's words here continue to stress the the me offorgiveness, but his appeal for approval and, specifically,applause ("the h elp of your good hands") was a conventional wayto end a comedy. ^^^^^^^^^^THE TE MPEST: ON CALIBAN The character of Caliban is wonderfully conceived: he is a sort of creature of the earth, partaking of the qualities of thebrute, and disti nguished from them in two ways: 1. By havingmere understanding without moral r eason; 2. By not having theinstincts which belong to mere animals.--Still Calib an is anoble being: a man in the sense of the imagination, all theimages he utt ers are drawn from nature, and are all highlypoetical; they fit in with the imag es of Ariel: Caliban givesyou images from the Earth--Ariel images from the air. Calibantalks of the difficulty of finding fresh water, the situation ofMorasse s, and other circumstances which the brute instinct notpossessing reason could c omprehend. No mean image is broughtforward, and no mean passion, but animal pas

sions, and the senseof repugnance at being commanded. -Samuel Taylor Coleridge , from a lecture on Shakespeare, 1811 ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ON PROSPERO Pr ospero is the central figure of The Tempest; and it hasoften been wildly asserte d that he is a portrait of theauthor--and embodiment of that spirit of wise bene volence whichis supposed to have thrown a halo over Shakespeare's later life.But , on closer inspection, the portrait seems to be as imaginaryas the original. T o an irreverent eye, the ex-Duke of Milanwould perhaps appear as an unpleasantly crusty personage, inwhom a twelve years' monopoly of the conversation had devel opedan inordinate propensity for talking. These may have been thesentiments of Ariel, safe at the Bermoothes; but to state themis to risk at least ten years in the knotty entrails of an oak,and it is sufficient to point out, that if Prospe ro is wise, heis also self-opinionated and sour, that his gravity is oftenanothe r name for pedantic severity, and that there is nocharacter in the play to whom, during some part of it, he is notstudiously disagreeable. -Lytton Strachey, " Shakespeare's Final Period," 1922; reprinted in Twentieth Century Interpretati ons of "The Tempest," ed. Hallett Smith, 1969 ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ON THE SCARCITY OF METAPHOR ...The Tempest will be found peculiarly poor in metaphor. There is the less need for it in that the play is itself metaphor. Shakespeare's favourite imagery of storm and wreck cannot powerfully recur as descriptive com parison since the whole play, as its title announces, revolves round that very c on -G. Wilson Knight, The Crown of Life, 1947 ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ON ANT ONIO "Good wombs," says Miranda, "have borne bad sons"--in therealm of the bet ter nature there are "unnatural" men....Obviously among the better natures there were those upon whomsome encounter or accident might beget an evil nature; that fromthe seed could grow degenerate plants. Many reasons werealleged to explain this, some astrological, some theological;and ultimately noblemen do ill becaus e, being sons of Adam, theyare free to choose.... Caliban has no choice but to be vile;but in Antonio there was surely a predisposition to virtuousconduct; and it could not be easy to think of one who, in theeyes of Caliban, was a "brave s pirit", as the betrayer of thefulness of his own more perfect nature, as a man s o unnatural asto be impervious to the action of grace, a Macbeth of comedy.We se e in Antonio the operation of sin in a world magicallypurified but still allowin g freedom to the will; inhabitants ofthis world can abase themselves below those who live unaided atthe level of nature. And it is as a comment upon his unnatu ralbehaviour that we are offered a close structural parallelbetween Antonio's co rrupt and Caliban's natural behaviour in thetwo plots against Alonso and Prosper o. -Frank Kermode, Introduction to the Arden edition of The Tempest, 1954 ^^ ^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ON THE YOUNGER GENERATION Not only do Ferdinand and Mira nda sustain Prospero inrepresenting a new order of things that has evolved out o fdestruction; they also vouch for its continuation. At the endof the play Alons o and Prospero are old and worn men. A youngerand happier generation is needed to secure the new state towhich Prospero has so painfully brought himself, his f riends,and all his enemies save Caliban. -E. M. W. Tillyard, Shakespeare' s Last Plays, 1958 ^^^^^^^^^^THE TEMPEST: ON GONZALO The Renaissance voyagers [who wrote the Bermuda pamphlets],in their casting about for classical and Chri stian analogues totheir experience, in their eagerness to see the miraculous atw ork and the special providence of God in all that happens, tosee hope in disaste r and lessons in trials, remind us more thana little of Gonzalo. From his comme nts on the breakdown ofshipboard discipline during the opening storm to his wish fulcelebration of everyone's self-recovery near the end, Gonzalotries, like the Renaissance voyagers behind him, to see aprovidential design in the experience o f the play, to moralizethat experience into what the Renaissance would call an"a llegory." In doing so, although he does not "mistake the truthtotally," as Anton io claims, he does have to bend reality everso slightly to the desires of his mi nd and to that extentfalsify it; not quite everyone, for example, has found hims elfby the end of the play as Gonzalo would like to think. Hisallusions to Carth age and "widow Dido" do distort Virgil in thestrenuous effort to hammer out the parallel, and arerepresentative of his efforts at perception throughout. Onesuc h effort is his benevolent vision of an island utopia [ActII, Scene I, lines 152 -173]. -Howard Felperin, Shakespearean Romance, 1972 THE END