Scene i is on board a ship at sea; the rest
of the action is on Prospero's Island.
2. Can you give a reason why Shakespeare begins this play with a storm?
Because he wished to draw the enemies of
Prospero to his island in an apparently
natural manner. This storm was caused
by Prospero. Scene ii, lines 194 to 208.
Some commentators suggest that the
storm was intended to recall the foul play
by which Prospero was robbed of his dukedom. In the author's day the elements
were supposed to be in very close sympathy with human joys and sorrows.
3. What do you learn about Ferdinand?
Ferdinand is a son of the storm-wrecked king; of "brave form"; is drawn to Prospero and Miranda by Ariel's music; "he is
gentle and not fearful" (line 467); and
falls in love with Miranda immediately.
4. What expression of the Realistic, the Romantic, and the Supernatural does Shakespeare
give in this act?
The conversation of the sailors, and the love between father and child are examples of Realism. Ariel's account of his
part in the storm, and the bewitching of Ferdinand are examples of the Supernatural. The love of Ferdinand and Miranda for each other is an expression of Romance.
ACT II — SCENE I
5. What description of the island does Gonzalo give?
"Here is everything advantageous to
life." "How lush and lusty the grass
looks! how green!"
6. What does Ariel do for Gonzalo?
He prevents Gonzalo from being killed
while asleep by Antonio and Sebastian, by
singing in his ear and waking him. Lines
305-310, Scene i.
7. What is the dramatic purpose of this humorous scene?
To contrast with the tragic; it temporarily relieves the mental and emotional
strain of the spectators of the drama. The final result is to make the tragedy
more effective by means of contrast.
ACT III — SCENE I
8. What task does Prospero impose upon Ferdinand?
The task of removing and repiling several
thousand logs. Line 10.
9. Compare the love scene of Miranda and Ferdinand with that of Romeo and Juliet; in what
are they alike; how do they differ?
The love scenes of Miranda and Ferdinand and Romeo and Juliet are alike in that all four fall in love at first sight;
that their fathers are enemies; that both girls are very young and childlike; that they profess their love at once. The
scenes differ in that Miranda does not recognize her feeling for Ferdinand because she has never heard of such a thing
as love; while Juliet recognizes her feeling for Romeo at once, — her mother has already discussed marriage with her. The
love of Ferdinand and Miranda adds brightness and light to the play while that of Romeo and Juliet bursts forth with a
passion which portends tragedy.
10. Give as good a description as you can of
Caliban has the body of a beast and the head of a deformed dwarf; he crawls upon
all fours rather than walks upright. His passions are bestial, yet he sees the beauty
in nature with a poet's mind. Act I, Scene i, lines 283-284; Act III, Scene ii,
lines 26-40; Act III, Scene ii, lines 144-152; Act V, Scene i, lines 264-270, 287-
11. How does the action of the play progress in
Ferdinand's labors are rewarded by the
gift of Miranda's hand, while Caliban,
Stefano, and Trinculo are punished.
12. How does the author bring Prospero to release his prisoners?
Prospero, through study and reflection,
resolves to release his prisoners if they
show penitence for the past.
13. What do you think of Prospero?
A matter of personal opinion. He is
calm, dignified, and scholarly, typifying a
14. How does he present Ferdinand to his father
Alonzo looks into Prospero's cell, discovering Ferdinand playing chess with Miranda; then Ferdinand tells his father of his
engagement to Miranda.
15. What do you think of The Tempest?
A personal question for each reader.
16. Why is it not a good play to be acted?
Because of the difficulty of presenting the supernatural on the stage and its unreality.
17. What do you learn from the epilogue?
Various interpretations are given this
speech. The actor who took the part of
Prospero makes a speech in words which
seem to apply to the play, but in reality
plead for the friendly judgment of the
How to cite this article:
Lunt, Forrest. Shakespeare Explained. New York: Hearst's International Library, 1915. Shakespeare Online. 10 Jan. 2011. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/thetempest/sceneq.html >.