Ferdinand stumbles across Miranda and, much to Prospero’s annoyance, they fall in love and decide to marry. Prospero warns Miranda off and decides to test Ferdinand’s loyalty. The rest of the shipwrecked crew are celebrating their survival and grieving for lost loved ones. Alonso believes that he has lost his beloved son, Ferdinand.
Stefano, Alonso’s drunken butler, discovers Caliban. Caliban decides to worship the drunken Stefano and make him his new master in order to escape Prospero’s power. Caliban describes Prospero’s cruelty and persuades Stefano to murder him by promising that Stefano can marry Miranda and rule the island.
Prospero finally concedes and agrees to the marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand and goes off to foil Caliban’s murderous plot. He orders Ariel to hang out beautiful clothes to distract the three fools. When Caliban and Stefano discover the clothes, they decide to steal them—Prospero arranges for goblins to “grind their joints."
At the end of the play, Prospero has forgiven his countrymen, pardoned Caliban, and has promised to set Ariel free after he helps the ship leave the island. Prospero also breaks his magical staff and buries it, and tosses his book of magic into the sea. All of these things redeem his earlier behaviors and hearken back to the belief that he's not truly evil. The last thing Prospero does in the play is to ask the audience to set him free from the island with their applause, thus leaving his future up to the "fates."