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Plot in The Tempest

Plot Examples in The Tempest:

Act I - Scene II

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"Fine apparition! My quaint Ariel, Hark in thine ear...."   (Act I - Scene II)

These words are actually spoken by Prospero to Ariel. When he asks the spirit to “hark in thine ear,” he is telling Ariel to listen closely, and then he gives the spirit instructions for how to approach and deal with Ferdinand.

"From mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom...."   (Act I - Scene II)

Most importantly, Gonzalo knew how much Prospero valued his books, which is why Gonzalo helped put them on the ship that took Prospero and his daughter away from Milan. These books contain much of Prospero’s magical power, and without them, he wouldn’t have been able to summon the tempest.

"He was indeed the duke..."   (Act I - Scene II)

Prospero reveals the story of how he and his daughter, Miranda, came to be stranded on the island. As the Duke of Milan, Prospero was far more interested in reading than politics. He spent his time studying while his brother, Antonio, oversaw daily operations and otherwise managed the dukedom—so effectively, it seems, that he managed to usurp Prospero's power and set he and Miranda (then three-years-old) out to sea.

"Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come In yours and my discharge...."   (Act II - Scene I)

Antonio’s “what’s past is prologue” translates to the idea that what has occurred sets the scene for the main action or details that are “to come.” More importantly, Antonio believes that he and Sebastian can control the events that will unfold. He attempts to persuade Sebastian to murder his sleeping father, Alonso, the King of Naples, so that Sebastian can take the kingship.

"murrain..."   (Act III - Scene II)

A “murrain” refers to a plague or infectious disease, or a death by such. Ariel claims that Caliban lies, but because Ariel is invisible, Caliban and Stephano think that Trinculo has spoken. Trinculo exclaims that he did not accuse anyone of lying, and blames this confrontation on the wine.

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