On a ship heading back from his daughters wedding, the king of Naples and his men are swept up in a huge storm. The crew does everything they can, but the ship crashes on an apparently deserted island.
Act 1 Scene 2
Stranded on the same deserted island for twelve years, the former duke of Milan tries to explain the situation to his daughter, Miranda. He tells her the story of his brother and the king, who arranged for he and Miranda to be lost at sea, so his brother can have his title. He explains also that he conjured up the storm by magic and ensured that no one was harmed. Prospero then charms Miranda and to sleep, and summons his spirit servant, Ariel, to hear about the results of the storm. Prospero awakens Miranda and decides to visit another of his slaves, Caliban. The slave tries to get out of his enslavement, but because of previous crimes he’s committed, Prospero threatens him into labor. Ariel makes sure that Ferdinand, the prince of Naples, runs into Prospero and Miranda. The young ones fall instantly in love, and in order to keep them so, Prospero enslaves Ferdinand.
Act 2 Scene 1
The King and his men have reached the island safely but they are saddened by the loss of Ferdinand. The men try to encourage the king telling him that they will find his son and heir, but he won’t be easily cheered. Trying to delay their search, Ariel places a spell on everyone but Sebastien and Antonio. The spell makes the men go to sleep, and while their comrades are asleep, Antonio convinces Sebastian to kill Alanso. Sebastian is Alonso’s brother, and since the heir to the throne is missing, if the king was killed Sebastian would inherit the throne. After some deliberation, Sebastian agrees and they start to attack the sleeping men. Ariel, seeing their plan, suddenly wakes the king and his men thwarting their plan. The men decide to continue the search for the missing Prince.
Act 2 scene 2
A servant of Alsono’s named Trinculo has also washed up from the boat, but separate from the other entourage. A storm comes up and Trinculo tries to find shelter from the storm. He runs into Prospero’s servant Caliban and joins him under a cape to escape from the storm. While under there he hears the voice of Alsono’s drunken butler, Stephano. The gentlemen meet up and Caliban tells them about the island in return for some of Stephano’s alcohol. Wanting to leave Pr...
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...s revenge, Caliban also tries to plan his own. His revenge for being a servant is, at first, trying to take Miranda. After that, when he enlists the help of the drunkards, is to win the island for himself and kill Prospero.
Greed, however, is the most powerful motive in the play. Antonio and Sebastian are shown to be the greediest characters because they are willing to kill their own brothers to inherit the power they seek. Caliban, as well, seeks to rule the island, and uses that as another incentive to attempt to kill Prospero. His cohorts, taken with the thought of being leaders and not servants, go along with him and are willing to commit heinous crimes for it. The only two characters in the play who are not greedy are the ones who fall in love. Since love is often associated with innocence, this is not surprising. Even Prospero, though often thought of as a righteous character, creates the plot in order to gain things for himself. Ariel too, helps Prospero in hopes of buying his freedom from his servitude.
The tempest was one of Shakespeare’s last plays and even though it has a different style and themes than some of his other plays, it still remains a great classic today.
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