The Tempest tells the story of an old sorcerer, exiled to an island, who brings his two brothers to the island in an elaborate storm in order to exact his revenge and restore himself and his daughter to Milan.
A storm shipwrecks Antonio, Alonso, the King of Naples, and his son Ferdinand on an island as they return from a wedding. The storm was caused by Prospero, an old sorcerer who was exiled to the island with his daughter, Miranda, from Milan many years ago when his brothers betrayed him. He is determined to get his revenge on his brothers for their betrayal. Ferdinand is separated from his father and believed to be dead, but he runs into Miranda and Prospero as he wanders about the island. He immediately falls in love with Miranda, which is all a part of Prospero’s plan. He initially pretends to oppose the union. Prospero’s supernatural assistant Ariel begins to play tricks on the king and his men as they wander the island.
Prospero arranges for a phantom banquet to appear and suddenly vanish in front of Alonso, Antonio, and their men. Ariel appears as a harpy and declares that Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian have been brought to the island to be punished for what they did to Prospero. The men are left completely frightened, and then Prospero imprisons them.
Prospero finally gives consent for Miranda and Ferdinand to be married. He then feels bad for imprisoning the men, so he tells Ariel to bring them in so he can perform his final spell. He reveals his identity. Alonso apologizes, and is relieved to discover that Ferdinand is alive after all, and engaged to Miranda. Prospero proposes that they all return to Milan for the wedding, where he will also retire. The ship is magically repaired, and Prospero asks the audience to set him free with their applause.
Check out the full teacher guide for The Tempest!
Date Published: 1611
Major Themes: Illusion vs. reality; revenge; discovery; redemption
Famous Quote: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
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