Act II - Scene II

Another part of the island.

[Enter Caliban carrying a burden of wood

All the infections that the sun sucks up
From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him
By inch-meal disease! [A noise of thunder heard]
His spirits hear me,
And yet I needs must curse. But they'll nor pinch,(5)
Fright me with urchin-shows, pitch me i'th’ mire,
Nor lead me, like a firebrand in the dark
Out of my way, unless he bid ’em; but
For every trifle are they set upon me,
Sometime like apes that mow and chatter at me(10)
And after bite me, then like hedgehogs, which
Lie tumbling in my barefoot way and mount
Their pricks at my footfall; sometime am I
All wound with adders who with cloven tongues
Do hiss me into madness.(15)

[Enter Trinculo]

Lo, now, lo,!
Here comes a spirit of his, and to torment me
For bringing wood in slowly, I'll fall flat.
Perchance he will not mind me.
Here's neither bush nor shrub to bear off any weather at(20)
all, and another storm brewing. I hear it sing i'th’ wind. Yon
same black cloud, yon huge one, looks like a foul bombard
that would shed his liquor. If it should thunder as it did
before, I know now where to hide my head. Yon same cloud
cannot choose but fall by pailfuls. [sees Caliban] What have(25)
we here—a man or a fish?—dead or alive? A fish: he smells
like a fish; a very ancient and fish-like smell; a kind of not-
of-the-newest Poor-John. A strange fish! Were I in England
now, as once I was, and had but this fish painted, not a
holiday-fool there but would give a piece of silver. There(30)
would this monster make a man. Any strange beast there
makes a man. When they will not give a dolt to relieve
a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian.
Legged like a man, and his fins like arms! Warm o'my troth!
I do now let loose my opinion; hold it no longer: this is no(35)
fish, but an islander that hath lately suffered by a thunderbolt. [Thunder]
Alas, the storm is come again! My best way
is to creep under his gaberdine; there is no other shelter
heareabout. Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
I will here, shroud till the dregs of the storm be past.(40)

[He crawls under Caliban's cloak]

[Enter Stephano, singing, a bottle in his hand]

I shall no more to sea, to sea,
Here shall I die ashore—
This is a very scurvy tune to sing at a man's funeral. Well,
here's my comfort.



The master, the swabber, the boatswain, and I,(45)
The gunner and his mate,
Loved Mall, Meg, and Marian, and Margery,
But none of us cared for Kate;
For she had a tongue with a tang,
Would cry to a sailor, ‘Go hang!’(50)
She loved not the savour of tar nor of pitch,
Yet a tailor might scratch her where'er she did itch:
Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang!
This is a scurvy tune too: but here's my comfort.


[to Trinculo] Do not torment me! O!(55)
What's the matter? Have we devils here? Do you put
tricks upon's with savages and men of Ind, ha? I have
not scaped drowning to be afeard now of your four legs;
for it hath been said, ‘As proper a man as ever went on
four legs cannot make him give ground.’ And it shall be(60)
said so again, while Stephano breathes at nostrils.
The spirits torments me. O!
This is some monster of the isle with four legs, who
hath got, as I tak it, an ague. Where the devil should he
learn our language? I will give him some relief, if it be but(65)
for that. If I can recover him and keep him tame and get
to Naples with him, he's a present for any emperor that
ever trod on neat's leather.
[to Trinculo] Do not torment me, prithee! I'll bring
my wood home faster.
He's in his fit now, and does not talk after the wisest.(70)
He shall taste of my bottle. If he have never drunk wine
afore, it will go near to remove his fit. If I can recover him
and keep him tame, I will not take too much for him. He
shall pay for him that hath him, and that soundly.
[to Trinculo] Thou dost me yet but little hurt. Thou(75)
wilt anon, I know it by thy trembling. Now Prosper
works upon thee.
Come on your ways. Open your mouth. Here is that
which will give language to you, cat. Open your mouth. This
will shake your shaking, I can tell you, and that soundly.(80)
You cannot tell who's your friend. Open your chaps again.

[Caliban drinks]

I should know that voice. It should be—but he is
drowned, and these are devils. O, defend me!
Four legs and two voices—a most delicate monster!
His forward voice now is to speak well of his friend; his(85)
backward voice is to utter foul speeches and to detract. If
all the wine in my bottle will recover him, I will help his
ague. Come. [Caliban drinks] Amen! I will pour some in
thy other mouth.
Doth thy other mouth call me? Mercy, mercy! This is
a devil, and no monster. I will leave him. I have no long
Stephano! If thou beest Stephano, touch me and speak
to me, for I am Trinculo—be not afeard—thy good friend(95)
If thou beest Trinculo, come forth. I'll pull thee by the
lesser legs. If any be Trinculo's legs, these are they. [He pulls
Trinculo out from under Caliban's cloak by the legs] Thou art
very Trinculo indeed! How cam'st thou to be the siege of(100)
this moon-calf? can he vent Trinculos?
I took him to be killed with a thunder-stroke. But art
thou not drowned, Stephano? I hope now thou art not
drowned. Is the storm overblown? I hid me under the dead
moon-calf's gaberdine for fear of the storm. And art thou living,(105)
Stephano? O Stephano, two Neapolitans scaped!
Prithee, do not turn me about; my stomach is not
[Aside] These be fine things, an if they be not sprites.
That's a brave god and bears celestial liquor.(110)
I will kneel to him.
[to Trinculo] How didst thou ’scape? How cam'st thou
hither? Swear by this bottle how thou cam'st hither. I
escaped upon a butt of sack which the sailors heaved
o'erboard—by this bottle, which I made of the bark of a tree(115)
with mine own hands since I was cast ashore.
I'll swear upon that bottle to be thy true subject, for
the liquor is not earthly.
[offering the bottle to Trinculo] Here. Swear then how
thou escapedst.(120)
Swum ashore, man, like a duck. I can swim like a
duck, I'll be sworn.
Here, kiss the book. Though thou canst swim like a
duck, thou art made like a goose.
O Stephano, hast any more of this?(125)
The whole butt, man. My cellar is in a rock by th’
seaside where my wine is hid. [Caliban rises] How now,
moon-calf, how does thine ague?
Hast thou not dropped from heaven?
Out o'th’ moon, I do assure thee: I was the man i'th’(130)
moon when time was.
I have seen thee in her, and I do adore thee. My
mistress showed me thee and thy dog and thy bush.
Come, swear to that. Kiss the book. I will furnish it
anon with new contents. Swear.(135)
By this good light, this is a very shallow monster!
I afeard of him? A very weak monster! The man i'th’
moon? A most poor, credulous monster! Well drawn,
monster, in good sooth!
I'll show thee every fertile inch o'th’ island;(140)
And I will kiss thy foot. I prithee, be my god.
By this light, a most perfidious and drunken monster!
When's god's asleep, he'll rob his bottle.
I'll kiss thy foot. I'll swear myself thy subject.
Come on then; down, and swear.(145)
I shall laugh myself to death at this puppy-headed
monster. A most scurvy monster! I could find in my heart
to beat him—
Come, kiss.
But that the poor monster's in drink. An abominable(150)
I'll show thee the best springs; I'll pluck thee
I'll fish for thee, and get thee wood enough.
A plague upon the tyrant that I serve!(155)
I'll bear him no more sticks, but follow thee,
Thou wondrous man.
A most ridiculous monster, to make a wonder of a
poor drunkard!
I prithee, let me bring thee where crabs grow;(160)
And I with my long nails will dig thee pignuts,
Show thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how
To snare the nimble marmoset, I'll bring thee
To clustering filberts, and sometimes I'll get thee
Young sea-mews from the rock. Wilt thou go with me?(165)
I prithee now, lead the way without any more talking.—
Trinculo, the King and all our company else being drowned,
we will inherit here. Here, bear my bottle. Fellow Trinculo,
we'll fill him by and by again.
[sings drunkenly] Farewell, master, farewell, farewell!(170)
A howling monster, a drunken monster!


No more dams I'll make for fish
Nor fetch in firing
At requiring,
Nor scrape trenchering, nor wash dish(175)
’Ban, ’Ban, Cacaliban
Has a new master—get a new man!
Freedom high-day! High-day, freedom! Freedom, high-day,
O brave monster! Lead the way.



  1. To free himself from Prospero’s slavery, Caliban chooses to become a slave to Stephano, calling him a god because of the power of his liquor. Trinculo’s and Stephano’s treatment of Caliban provides a metaphor for the abusive and ignorant way that European colonizers took advantage of colonized populations. Furthermore, Trinculo’s calling Caliban “ridiculous” and “strange” is similar to the dehumanizing language Prospero uses with Caliban.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. Fearing lightning from yet another brewing storm, Trinculo hides under the cloak with Caliban and makes this statement. Besides the fact that these two strangers are lying under a cloak together, Trinculo’s words also comment on the events of the storm because many different groups of people have been brought to the island, which has caused unexpected alliances. Finally, this sentiment also expresses a view on loss and reclamation: when one is miserable from loss, one might find themselves with new people and in new situations that can offer them comfort.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. “Men of Ind” in this context means men of the Indies, though Stephano does not specify whether he means the East or West Indies. Stephano’s line here echoes the prejudiced colonial assumption that all native populations were “savage” and uncivilized in comparison to the Europeans.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. Similar to Trinculo’s earlier speculation, Stephano also expresses a desire to take Caliban to Europe in order to profit off of him. This scene represents another aspect of how colonists treated native peoples: Stephano uses alcohol as a way to “tame” Caliban in order to make him do what Stephano wants. Alcohol then is a symbol of colonial power because it can be used to abuse native peoples and alter their judgment, much like the treatment of Native Americans by the American colonists.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. A “gaberdine,” also spelled “gabardine,” is a long, loose frock made of a coarse material, similar to a cloak. Trinculo decides to hide under Caliban’s gaberdine for shelter.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. Being the fool in the play, Trinculo’s actions and words often provide comic relief from the plots that take place in The Tempest. However, in this moment we see that Triculo’s words reflect the colonial mindset of the Europeans at the time and the notion that one can venture to exotic lands, take what they want, and profit off of it in Europe.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. Having been enslaved by Prospero on the island that is supposedly his inheritance, Caliban is portrayed as an angry character. Here Caliban boldly expresses his hatred towards Prospero by cursing him, hoping that all possible infections from “bogs, fens, flats,” or, in other words, wet muddy grounds and swampy areas will cause Prospero to rot away “inch-meal” or little by little.

    — Jane, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. Trinculo, realizing that he has stumbled upon a man instead of what he initially thought was a fish, decides to crawl into the man’s cloak as a form of shelter from the storm and rain. His statement expresses the idea that in miserable or terrible situations, one will meet bizarre people or “strange bedfellows.”

    — Jane, Owl Eyes Staff