Shakespeare: The Tempest Summary & Characters

 Summary : The Tempest (William Shakespeare)

the tempest summary by William Shakespeare
Source: Wikimedia commons

Introduction: The Tempest :-

The tempest is one of William Shakespeare's comedies. Though it is listed as a comedy in First Folio, it deals with both the themes of comedy and tragedy. It is the story of an exiled King of Milan, Prospero, who lives in a remote island somewhere near Italy with his daughter, Miranda. All of the play is set upon the island exept its first scene which is set on the stormy sea water near the island. The play deals with the theme of magic, love, betrayal and forgiveness.

Note: First Folio :-It is the collection of William Shakespeare's comedies, histories and tragedies. Commonly referred to as First Folio by modern scholars, it was published in the year 1623 about after seven years of Shakespeare's death. It is widely considered to as one of the most influential books.

William Shakespeare
Shakespeare: The Tempest Summary & Characters

Born (Baptised) 26 April 1564, UK
Died 23 April 1616, UK
Active years c. 1585- 1613
Era Elizabethan, Jacobean
Literary Period Renaissance
Profession Playwright, Poet, actor
Notable works Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Macbeth etc
Genre Renaissance drama
The tempest summary by William Shakespeare
Gentlemengyan : additional information

Characters in The Tempest :-

Prospero : The rightful duke/King of Milan.
Miranda : Daughter of King Prospero.
Ariel : An airy spirit who serves Prospero.
Cycorax : A witch.
Caliban : Son of Cycorax and the servant of Prospero, a wildful monster.
Antonio : Prospero's brother, the userping King of Milan.
Alonso : King of Naples.
Sebastian : Alonso's brother.
Ferdinand : Alonso's son.
Gonzalo : an honest old councillor.
The Tempest
Written by William Shakespeare
Country England
Genre Shakespearean tragedy, Comic tragedy
Plot Island near Italy
Protagonist Prospero
Other Characters Miranda, Ariel, Caliban, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, Alonso etc

Summary of The Tempest :-

In the first scene of the play a ship is caught in a violent storm (the tempest). On board the ship is the King of Naples (Alonso), his brother (Antonio), his son (Ferdinand), his friend Sebastian and other passengers. Duke of Naples was returning from his daughter's wedding in Tunis. There is chaos in the ship while it struggles through the stormy water.

Prospero and his daughter Miranda watch the ship enveloping in the storm from the island. Miranda asks her father to stop the storm as he is a powerful magician (sorcerer). Prospero has created this storm with his magic and with Ariel's help who is a spirit. Prospero tells her daughter that his enemies are on the ship. He tell her the story about what happened with them twelve years ago. 
                        Twelve years ago Prospero was the Duke of Milan. He was betrayed by his brother Antonio with the help of duke of Naples Alonso. Antonio usurped the throne and title of Prospero. Prospero and his little daughter Miranda were set adrift on the sea in a rotten carcass of a boat. Eventually they survived and ended up in this island stranded. Since then Prospero was learning the magic, which he has used to create a storm today when his enemies are on the ship and circumstances are in his favour.
Shakespeare the tempest summary
gentlemengyan: additional fact
After telling the story, Prospero puts Miranda under a sleeping spell. Then Ariel tells his master Prospero that he has created the storm as instructed. All passengers are safely landed at the different parts of the island. Ferdinand, the son of Alonso, lured by Ariel's music is brought to Prospero. Miranda sees Ferdinand, she is convinced that he is a spirit. Ferdinand and Miranda instantly fall in love with each other. 
Alonso is landed at the other part of island where he is in grief as he thinks that his son is dead. Antonio and Sebastian are washed ashore together again at a different place. Here Antonio convinces Sebastian, the brother of duke Alonso, to kill his brother and seize the power and throne for himself. This conspiracy to kill Alonso and Gonzalo is same as Antonio's plot to murder King Prospero twelve years ago. But this conspiracy is thwarted by Ariel as he awakens Alonso and Gonzalo.

At the another part of the island, Caliban is collecting the firewood and while doing so he curses Prospero. Before Prospero arrived in this island, he was living here with his mother Cycorax. He want to gain the control over the island again and live in peace. Tricuno, the king's jester and Stepheno, king's drunken butler find Caliban. The three plan to raise an unsuccessful coup against Prospero.

Ariel appears as a harpy an confronts Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio. He accuses them of crimes and bitrayal. They run away in the guilt of crimes against Prospero and one another. 
King Prospero arranges a bethrotal of the marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda. He prepares a masque and asks Ariel to bring other spirits and nymphs for the bethrotal.

At the end of the play Ariel fetches Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio to Prospero. They are deeply disturbed by Ariel's magical vision. The repent on their previous acts and ask for forgiveness. Prospero Forgives them. He is reinstated as the rightful duke of Milan. He sets Ariel free and asks him to keep the sea water quite as they sail back. At the closing speech prospero asks the audience for his own forgiveness and freedom.


References: 1),    2)

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