Act I - Scene II

The Island. Before Prospero's cell.

[Enter Prospero and Miranda]

If by your art, my dearest father, you have
Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.
The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
But that the sea, mounting to th’ welkin's cheek,
Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffered(5)
With those that I saw suffer! A brave vessel,
Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her,
Dashed all to pieces! O, the cry did knock
Against my very heart! Poor souls, the perished.
Had I been any god of power, I would(10)
Have sunk the sea within the earth, or ere
It should the good ship so have swallowed and
The fraughting souls within her.
Be collected.
No more amazement. Tell your piteous heart(15)
There's no harm done.
O, woe the day!
No harm.
I have done nothing but in care of thee,
Of thee, my dear one, thee, my daughter, who(20)
Art ignorant of what thou art, naught knowing
Of whence I am, nor that I am more better
Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell,
And thy no greater father.
More to know(25)
Did never meddle with my thoughts.
’Tis time
I should inform thee farther. Lend thy hand,
And pluck my magic garment from me.—So: [Lays down his cloak]
Lie there, my art.—Wipe thou thine eyes; have comfort.(30)
The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touched
The very virtue of compassion in thee,
I have with such provision in mine art
So safely ordered that there is no soul—
No, not so much perdition as an hair(35)
Betid to any creature in the vessel
Which thou heard'st cry, which though saw'st sink. Sit
For thou must now know farther.

[Miranda sits]

You have often(40)
Begun to tell me what I am, but stopped
And left me to a bootless inquisition,
Concluding ‘Stay, not yet.’
The hour's now come;
The very minute bids thee ope thine ear,(45)
Obey, and be attentive. Canst thou remember
A time before we came unto this cell?
I do not think thou canst, for then thou wast not
Out three years old.
Certainly, sir, I can.(50)
By what? By any other house or person?
Of anything the image tell me that
Hath kept with thy remembrance.
’Tis far off,
And rather like a dream than an assurance(55)
That my remembrance warrants. Had I not
Four or five women once that tended me?
Thou hadst, and more, Miranda. But how is it
That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abyss of time?(60)
If thou rememb'rest aught ere thou cam'st here,
How thou cam'st here thou mayst.
But that I do not.
Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,
Thy father was the Duke of Milan, and(65)
A prince of power—
Sir, are not you my father?
Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and
She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father
Was Duke of Milan, and his only heir(70)
And princess no worse issued.
O, the heavens!
What foul play had we that we came from thence?
Or blessèd was't we did?
Both, both, my girl.(75)
By foul play, as thou sayst, were we heaved thence,
But blessedly holp hither.
O, my heart bleeds
To think o'th’ teen that I have turned you to,
Which is from my remembrance. Please you, farther.(80)
My brother and thy uncle, called Antonio—
I pray thee mark me, that a brother should
Be so perfidious—he whom next thyself
Of all the world I loved, and to him put
The manage of my state; as at that time(85)
Through all the signories it was the first,
And Prospero the prime duke, being so reputed
In dignity, and for the liberal arts
Without a parallel; those being all my study,
The government I cast upon my brother,(90)
And to my state grew stranger, being transported
And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle—
Dost thou attend me?
Sir, most heedfully.
Being once perfected how to grant suits,(95)
How to deny them, who t'advance and who
To trash for over-topping, new created
The creatures that were mine, I say, or changed ’em,
Or else new formed ’em; having both the key
Of officer and office, set all hearts i'th’ state(100)
To what tune pleased his ear, that now he was
The ivy which had hid my princely trunk,
And sucked my verdure out on't. Thou attend'st not!
O good sir, I do.
I pray thee mark me.(105)
I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
To closeness and the bettering of my mind
With that which, but by being so retired,
O'er prized all popular rate, in my false brother
Awakened an evil nature; and my trust,(110)
Like a good parent, did beget of him
A falsehood, in its contrary as great
As my trust was, which had indeed no limit,
A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded,
Not only with what my revenue yielded,(115)
But what my power might else exact, like one
Who having into truth, by telling of it,
Made such a sinner of his memory
To credit his own lie, he did believe
He was indeed the duke; out o'th’ substitution,(120)
And executing the outward face of royalty
With all prerogative; hence his ambition growing—
Dost thou hear?
Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.
To have no screen between this part he played(125)
And him he played it for; he needs will be
Absolute Milan. Me, poor man, my library
Was dukedom large enough: of temporal royalties
He thinks me now incapable; confederates—
So dry he was for sway—with the King of Naples(130)
To give him annual tribute, do him homage,
Subject his coronet to his crown, and bend
The dukedom, yet unbowed alas, poor Milan!—
To most ignoble stooping.
O the heavens!(135)
Mark his condition and th’event; then tell me
If this might be a brother.
I should sin
To think but nobly of my grandmother:
Good wombs have borne bad sons.(140)
Now the condition.
The King of Naples, being an enemy
To me inveterate, hearkens my brother's suit;
Which was that he, in lieu o'th’ premises
Of homage and I know not how much tribute,(145)
Should presently extirpate me and mine
Out of the dukedom, and confer fair Milan,
With all the honours, on my brother; whereon,
A treacherous army levied, one midnight
Fated to th’ purpose did Antonio open(150)
The gates of Milan, and, i'th’ dead of darkness,
The ministers for th’ purpose hurried thence
Me and thy crying self.
Alack, for pity!
I, not rememb'ring how I cried out then,(155)
Will cry it o'er again: it is a hint
That wrings mine eyes to't.
Hear a little further,
And then I'll bring thee to the present business
Which now's upon's; without the which this story(160)
Were most impertinent.
Wherefore did they not
That hour destroy us?
Well demanded, wench;
My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not,(165)
So dear the love my people bore me, nor set
A mark so bloody on the business, but
With colours fairer painted their foul ends
In few, they hurried us aboard a barque,
Bore us some leagues to sea, where they prepared(170)
A rotten carcass of a butt, not rigged,
Nor tackle, sail, nor mast—the very rats
Instinctively have quit it. There they hoist us,
To cry to th’ sea that roared to us, to sigh
To th’ winds, whose pity, sighing back again,(175)
Did us but loving wrong.
Alack, what trouble
Was I then to you!
O, a cherubin
Thou wast that did preserve me. Thou didst smile,(180)
Infused with a fortitude from heaven,
When I have decked the sea with drops full salt,
Under my burden groaned; which raised in me
An undergoing stomach, to bear up
Against what should ensue.(185)
How came we ashore?
By Providence divine.
Some food we had, and some fresh water, that
A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo,
Out of his charity,—who being then appointed(190)
Master of this design,—did give us; with
Rich garments, linens, stuffs, and necessaries,
Which since have steaded much; so, of his
Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me(195)
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom.
Would I might
But ever see that man!
Now I arise. [Standing, he puts on his cloak](200)
Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow.
Here in this island we arrived, and here
Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit
Than other princesess’ can, that have more time
For vainer hours and tutors not so careful.(205)
Heavens thank you for't. And now I pray you, sir—
For still ’tis beating in my mind,—your reason
For raising this sea-storm.
Know thus far north.
By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune,(210)
Now my dear lady, hath mine enemies
Brought to this shore; and by my prescience
I find my zenith doth depend upon
A most auspicious star, whose influence
If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes(215)
Will ever after droop. Here cease more questions:
Thou art inclined to sleep; ’tis a good dulness,
And give it way—I know thou canst not choose. [Miranda sleeps]
Come away, servant, come!
I am ready now.(220)
Approach, my Ariel, come!

[Enter Ariel]

All hail, great master, grave sir, hail! I come
To answer thy best pleasure; be't to fly,
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
On the curled clouds, to thy strong bidding task(225)
Ariel and all his quality
Hast thou, spirit,
Performed to point the tempest that I bade thee?
To every article.
I boarded the King's ship; now on the beak,(230)
Now in the waist the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement. Sometime I'd divide,
And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet and join. Jove's lightning, the precursors(235)
O'th’ dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary
And sight-outrunning were not; the fire and cracks
Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune
Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble,
Yea, his dread trident shake.(240)
My brave spirit!
Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil
Would not infect his reason?
Not a soul
But felt a fever of the mad and played(245)
Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners
Plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel,
Then all afire with me: the King's son Ferdinand,
With hair up-staring—then like reeds, not hair—
Was the first man that leapt, cried, ’Hell is empty,(250)
And all the devils are here.’
Why, that's my spirit!
But was not this nigh shore?
Close by, my master.
But are they, Ariel, safe?(255)
Not a hair perished;
On their sustaining garments not a blemish,
But fresher than before; and as thou bad'st me,
In troops I have dispersed them ’bout the isle.
The King's son have I landed by himself,(260)
Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs
In an odd angle of the isle, and sitting,
His arms in this sad knot.
Of the King's ship,
The mariners, say how thou hast disposed,(265)
And all the rest o'th’ fleet.
Safely in harbour
Is the King's ship, in the deep nook where once
Thou calld'st me up at midnight to fetch dew
From the still vexed Bermudas, there she's hid;(270)
The mariners all under hatches stowed
Who, with a charm joined to their suffered labour,
I have left asleep; and for the rest o'th’ fleet,
Which I dispersed, they all have met again,
And are upon the Mediterranean float,(275)
Bound sadly home for Naples,
Supposing that they saw the King's ship wrecked,
And his great person perish.
Ariel, thy charge
Exactly is performed; but there's more work.(280)
What is the time o'th’ day?
Past the mid season.
At least two glasses. The time ’twixt six and now
Must by us both be spent most preciously.
Is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains(285)
Let me remember thee what thou hast promised,
Which is not yet performed me.
How now? Moody?
What is't thou canst demand?
My liberty.(290)
Before the time be out? No more!
I prithee,
Remember I have done thee worthy service,
Told thee no lies, made thee no mistakings, served
Without or grudge or grumblings. Thou did promise(295)
To bate me a full year.
Dost thou forget
From what a torment I did free thee?
Thou dost, and think'st it much to tread the ooze(300)
Of the salt deep,
To run upon the sharp wind of the north,
To do me business in the veins o'th’ earth
When it is baked with frost.
I do not, sir.(305)
Thou liest, malignant thing! Hast thou forgot
The foul witch Sycorax, who with age and envy
Was grown into a hoop? Hast thou forgot her?
No, sir.
Thou hast. Where was she born? Speak; tell me.(310)
Sir, in Algiers.
O, was she so? I must
Once in a month recount what thou hast been,
Which thou forget'st. This damned witch Sycorax,
For mischiefs manifold and sorceries terrible(315)
To enter human hearing, from Algiers
Thou know'st was banished—for one thing she did
They would not take her life. Is not this true?
Ay, sir.
This blue-eyed hag was hither brought with child,(320)
And here was left by th’ sailors. Thou, my slave,
As thou report'st thyself, wast then her servant;
And for thou wast a spirit too delicate
To act her earthy and abhorred commands,
Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee,(325)
By help of her more potent ministers
And in her most unmitigable rage,
Into a cloven pine; within which rift
Imprisoned thou didst painfully remain
A dozen years; within which spaced she died(330)
And left thee there, where thou didst vent thy groans
As fast as mill-wheels strike. Then was this island—
Save for the son that she did litter here,
A freckled whelp, hag-born—not honoured with
A human shape.(335)
Yes, Caliban her son.
Dull thing, I say so: he, that Caliban
Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know'st
What torment I did find thee in. Thy groans
Did make wolves howl, and penetrate the breasts(340)
Of ever-angry bears; it was a torment
To lay upon the damned, which Sycorax
Could not again undo. It was mine art,
When I arrived and heard thee, that made gape
The pine and let thee out.(345)
I thank thee, master.
If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak,
And peg thee in his knotty entrails till
Thou hast howled away twelve winters.
Pardon, master.(350)
I will be correspondent to command
And do my spiriting gently.
Do so, and after two days
I will discharge thee.
That's my noble master!(355)
What shall I do? Say what; what shall I do?
Go make thyself like a nymph o'th’ sea.
Be subject to no sight by thine and mine, invisible
To every eyeball else. Go take this shape,
And hither come in't: go; hence with diligence! [Exit Ariel](360)
Awake, dear heart, awake! Thou hast slept well;
The strangeness of your story put
Heaviness in me.
Shake it off. Come on;(365)
We'll visit Caliban my slave, who never
Yields us kind answer.
’Tis a villain, sir,
I do not love to look on.
But as ’tis,(370)
We cannot miss him: he does make our fire,
Fetch in our wood, and serves in offices
That profit us. What ho! Slave, Caliban!
Thou earth, thou, speak!


There's wood enough within.(375)
Come forth, I say! There's other business for thee.
Come, thou tortoise! When?

[Re-enter Ariel like a water-nymph]

Fine apparition! My quaint Ariel,
Hark in thine ear.
My lord, it shall be done.(380)


Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself
Upon thy wicked dam, come forth!

[Enter Caliban]

As wicked dew as e'er my mother brushed
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen
Drop on you both! A south-west blow on ye(385)
And blister you all o'er!
For this be sure tonight thou shalt have cramps,
Side-stiches that shall pen thy breath up. Urchins
Shall, for that vast of night that they may work,
All exercise on thee. Thou shalt be pinched(390)
As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging
Than bees that made ’em.
I must eat my dinner.
This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou tak'st from me. When thou cam'st first,(395)
Thou strok'st me and made much of me, wouldst give me
Water and berries in't, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night; and then I loved thee,
And showed thee all the qualities o'th‘ isle,(400)
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile—
Cursed be I that did so! All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
For I am all the subjects that you have,
Which first was mine own king, and here you sty me(405)
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me
The rest o‘th’ island.
Thou most lying slave,
Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used
Filth as thou art, with human care, and lodged thee
In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate
The honour of my child.
O ho, O ho! Would't had been done!
Thou didst prevent me; I had peopled else(415)
This isle with Calibans.
Abhorrèd slave,
Which any print of goodness wilt not take,
Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour(420)
One thing or other. When thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endowed thy purposes
With words that made them known. But thy vile race,
Though thou didst learn, had that in't which good natures(425)
Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou
Deservedly confined into this rock,
Who hadst deserved more than a prison.
You taught me language, and my profit on't
Is I know how to curse. The red plague rid you(430)
For learning me your language!
Hag-seed, hence!
Fetch us in fuel, and be quick, thou'rt best,
To answer other business.—Shrug'st thou, malice?
If thou neglect'st or dost unwillingly(435)
What I command, I'll rack thee with old cramps,
Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar,
That beasts shall tremble at thy din.
No, pray thee.
[Aside] I must obey. His art is of such power,(440)
It would control my dam's god Setebos,
And make a vassal of him.
So, slave, hence!

[Exit Caliban]

[Re-enter Ariel, invisible, playing and singing; Ferdinand following]

Come unto these yellow sands,(445)
And than take hands;
Curtsied when you have and the kissed—
The wild waves whist—
Foot it featly here and there,
And, sweet sprites, bear(450)
The burden. Hark, hark!
[dispersedly] Bow-wow!
The watch-dogs bark.
[dispersedly] Bow-wow!
Hark, hark! I hear(455)
The strain of strutting Chanticleer
Cry ‘cock-a-diddle-dow.’
Where should this music be? I'th’ air or th’ earth?
It sounds no more; and sure it waits upon
Some god o'th’ island. Sitting on a bank,(460)
Weeping again the King my father's wreck,
This music crept by me upon the waters,
Allaying both their fury and my passion
With its sweet air. Thence I have followed it,
Or it hath drawn me rather. But ’tis gone.(465)
No, it begins again.
Full fathom five thy father lies.
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;(470)
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Ding dong.(475)
Hark, now I hear them,—Ding-dong bell.
The ditty does remember my drowned father.
This is no mortal business, nor no sound
That the earth owes.—I hear it now above me.
[to Miranda] The fringèd curtains of thine eye advance(480)
And say what thou seest yond.
What is't? A spirit?
Lord, how it looks about! Believe me, sir,
It carries a brave form. But ’tis a spirit.
No, wench, it eats and sleeps, and hath such senses(485)
As we have, such. This gallant which thou seest
Was in the wreck, and but he's something stained
With grief, that's beauty's canker, thou mightest call him
A goodly person. He hath lost his fellows,
And strays about to find ’em(490)
I might call him
A thing divine, for nothing natural
I ever saw so noble.
[Aside] It goes on, I see,
As my soul prompts it. [to Ariel] Spirit, fine spirit, I—II free(495)
Within two days for this.
[Aside] Most sure, the goddess
On whom these airs attend! Vouchsafe my
May know if you remain upon this island,
And that you will some good instruction give
How I my bear me here. My prime request,
Which I do last pronounce, is—O you wonder!—
If you be maid or no?(505)
No wonder, sir,
But certainly a maid.
My language! Heavens!
I am the best of them that speak this speech,
Were I but where ’tis spoken.(510)
How? The best?
What wert thou if the King of Naples heard thee?
A single thing, as I am now, that wonders
To hear thee speak of Naples. He does hear me,
And that he does I weep; myself am Naples,(515)
Who with mine eyes, never since at ebb, beheld
The King my father wrecked.
Alack, for mercy!
Yes, faith, and all his lords, the Duke of Milan
And his brave son being twain.(520)
[Aside] The Duke of Milan
And his more braver daughter could control thee,
If now ’twere fit to do't. At the first sight
They have changed eyes. Delicate Ariel,
I'll set thee free for this [to Ferdinand] A word, good sir.(525)
I fear you have done yourself some wrong; a word.
[Aside] Why speaks my father so urgently? This
Is the third man that e'er I saw, the first
That e'er I sighed for. Pity move my father
To be inclined my way!(530)
O, if a virgin,
And your affection not gone forth, I'll make you
The Queen of Naples.
Soft, sir! One word more.
[Aside] They are both in either's powers; but this swift(535)
I must uneasy make, lest too light winning
Make the prize light. [to Ferdinand] One word more; I
charge thee
That thou attend me. Thou dost here usurp(540)
The name thou ow'st not; and hast put thyself
Upon this island as a spy, to win it
From me, the lord on't.
No, as I am a man.
There's nothing ill can dwell in such a temple:(545)
If the ill spirit have so fair a house,
Good things will strive to dwell with't.
[to Ferdinand] Follow me.
[to Miranda] Speak not you for him; he's a traitor.
[to Ferdinand] Come,(550)
I'll manacle thy neck and feet together.
Sea-water shalt thou drink; thy food shall be
The fresh-brook mussels, withered roots, and husks
Wherein the acorn cradled. Follow.
I will resist such entertainment till
Mine enemy has more power.

[He draws, and is charmed from moving]

O dear father,
Make not too rash a trial of him, for
He's gentle, and not fearful.(560)
What, I say,
My foot my tutor? Put thy sword up, traitor,
Who mak'st a show but dar'st not strike, thy conscience
Is so possessed with guilt. Come from thy ward,
For I can here disarm thee with this stick(565)
And make thy weapon drop.
Beseech you, father!—
Hence! Hang not on my garments.
Sir, have pity;
I'll be his surety.(570)
Silence! One word more
Shall make me chide thee, if not hate thee. What,
An advocate for an imposter? Hush!
Thou think'st there is no more such shapes as he,
Having seen but him and Caliban. Foolish wench!(575)
To th’ most of men this is a Caliban,
And they to him are angels.
My affections
Are then most humble. I have no ambition
To see a goodlier man.(580)
[to Ferdinand] Come on; obey.
Thy nerves are in their infancy again,
And have no vigour in them.
So they are.
My spirits, as in a dream, are all bound up.(585)
My father's loss, the weakness which I feel,
The wreck of all my friends, nor this man's threats,
To whom I am subdued, are but light to me,
Might I but through my prison once a day
Behold this maid. All corners else o'th’ earth(590)
Let liberty make use of; space enough
Have I in such a prison.
[Aside] It works. [to Ariel] Come on.—
Thou has done well, fine Ariel. [to Ferdinand] Follow
[to Ariel] Hark what thou else shalt do me.
[to Ferdinand] Be of comfort.
My father's of a better nature, sir,
Than he appears by speech. This is unwonted
Which now came from him.(600)
[to Ariel] Thou shalt be free
As mountain winds; but then exactly do
All points of my command.
To th’ syllable.
[to Ferdinand] (605)
Come, follow. [to Miranda] Speak not for him.



  1. While Caliban is depicted as contemptible, his relationship with Prospero features into a colonial dynamic within Shakespeare’s play. Prospero considers it a gift to have taught Caliban language; Caliban only sees this education as another form of imprisonment that Prospero has over him. Since Caliban states that the only value of language for him is to curse, we can understand his view that he is not treated equally by those with whom he can communicate. He can only speak to curse his oppressors. The tension between these two symbolically represents the "education" that European colonizers imposed on colonized groups across the world.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. The exchange between Prospero and Caliban reveals much about their relationship. Prospero initially treated Caliban with care until Caliban tried to rape Miranda. Caliban’s claim that he wishes he had further depicts him as a despicable creature. Here, Caliban further reveals his vile character by saying that the only valuable thing he has learned from Prospero is how to curse.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. Miranda expresses concern for the ship as she watched the storm tear it to pieces. Suspecting her father had something to do with the storm, Miranda expresses her sympathy for the ship and claims that some “noble creature” must have been on it. Since Gonzalo earlier told the Boatswain to remember who is onboard the ship (the King of Naples), Miranda appears to possess some kind of insight about the characters arriving on the island. This passage reveals Miranda to be a kind, compassionate person capably of sympathizing with the suffering of others, which puts her in stark contrast with other characters like Caliban and Antonio.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. Under strict orders from Prospero, Ariel disguised himself as a water nymph and sings to bewitch Prince Ferdinand, bringing him to Prospero and Miranda. These first several words,"Full fathom five thy father lies" Ferdinand takes to mean that his father has drowned. This whole selection represents the detailed instructions that Prospero has given to Ariel: creating a kind of play within the larger play. Ariel's song emphasizes the fantastic and magical in the play. The lyrical and alliterative language not only persuades Ferdinand that his father is dead, but it also conveys the impression that the play is like a folktale or myth.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. This is an allusion to the rooster Chanticleer whose origins are in fairy tales. Chaucer made Chanticleer even more popular in English stories in The Canterbury Tales.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  6. The “red plague” is another term for smallpox, a human disease that is characterized by skin loss, pustules, and scars. It is believed to have been eradicated globally by widespread vaccination in the 20th century. Caliban invokes this disease here to emphasize his hatred of Prospero and the cruel and painful death he wishes on him.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. 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.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  8. 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.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  9. We learn here that Gonzalo, the same from the first scene, took pity on Prospero and Miranda and supplied them with goods before they were sent out to see. That Prospero calls him noble, that he made such efforts with the exiles, and that he showed respect for the Boatswain’s authority on the ship portrays Gonzalo as an amiable and respectable nobleman.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  10. While we shortly do learn that Prospero studied much of his sorcery, his calling this garment “magic,” and removing it to speak with Miranda, is important. In many of Shakespeare’s plays clothing plays an important role in emphasizing status. Since Prospero wears a magic cloak, then this not only bestows him with arcane power, but it also reinforces his position of power on the island.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  11. Prospero praises the work that Ariel has done for him in creating a violent storm; however despite Ariel’s faithful service, Prospero refuses to give Ariel his freedom. When confronted with this injustice, Prospero reminds Ariel that he would not be free if it were not for Prospero’s actions. This is ironic though, as Ariel goes from being enslaved, to free, and back to being enslaved again. Prospero may treat Ariel considerably well in comparison to his previous master, Sycorax, but Prospero still uses his power to maintain his position as master.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  12. Neptune is the Roman god of the sea, the equivalent of Poseidon in Greek mythology. Since Neptune is considered a very powerful god, Ariel’s assertion that he created a storm that would make even Neptune “tremble” suggests that it was a terrifying storm.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  13. While “cell” today might bring to mind an image of a prison cell, in this context a cell is a small dwelling or shack. Prospero’s humble dwelling immediately reveals that he is not a person of great wealth.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  14. Prospero explains that initially, he and his brother Antonio were very close. Prospero emphasizes that he trusted his brother completely, and this makes Antonio’s betrayal all the more painful and shocking. This quote establishes Antonio as the villain of the play, emphasizing how he has used Prospero’s trust against him in his quest for power.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  15. Miranda and Ferdinand both initially mistake each other for spirits—Miranda hasn't ever seen a human male besides her old father, and Ferdinand thinks Miranda is so beautiful that she can't possibly be a human woman. Shakespeare alludes to Aeneas's first glimpse of Venus disguised as a girl when he was shipwrecked at Carthage.

    — Sarah, Owl Eyes Staff
  16. 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.

    — Sarah, Owl Eyes Staff
  17. Miranda and Prospero express anger that their "education" of Caliban has done very little to civilize him. However, their indignation fails to take into account both Caliban's history and the irony in their form of "civilization." Caliban was a free spirit who has now been forced into slavery. What they are calling his freedom from savagery ironically becomes his imprisonment in servitude. Caliban's character becomes more sympathetic through this lens of injustice.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  18. Prospero is going to tell Miranda everything that happened since he was overthrown and she was only three years old. This is all intended to inform the audience of how these two people happen to be marooned on an island and not to enlighten Miranda. In fact, she must have asked him questions in the past, and he would have had no reason for concealing everything from her up to this moment in time.

    — William Delaney
  19. In a stage play the exposition has, with a few exceptions such as in Our Town, to be delivered in the form of dialogue. The whole conversation between Prospero and his daughter is nothing but exposition for the benefit of the audience. Shakespeare has Miranda make an occasional comment or ask an occasional question, but this is merely to try to create the impression that it is a real conversation and not a monologue by Prospero. Obvious examples can be seen where Prospero at the end of a long passage asks, "Dost thou attend me?" and she answers, "Sir, most heedfully." A little later he asks, "Dost thou hear?" and she replies, "Your tale, sir, would cure deafness." There is a great deal of this sort of thing in Prospero's long expository monologue. It is the audience that is being filled in, not Miranda. Shakespeare usually handles exposition more adroitly, but perhaps he had a great deal of background material to fill in before the action got started.

    — William Delaney
  20. This is an indication of Miranda's present age. She was about three years old when they came to the island, and later Prospero will tell her that twelve years ago he was the Duke of Milan. So Miranda is fifteen.

    — William Delaney