The tempest - William Shakespeare - ebook

Prospero, long exiled from Italy with his daughter Miranda, seeks to use his magical powers to defeat his former enemies. Eventually, having proved merciful, he divests himself of that magic, his `art', and prepares to return to the mainland. The tempest is one of the most suggestive, yet most elusive of all Shakespeare's plays, and has provoked a wide range of critical interpretation. It is a magical romance, yet deeply and problematically embedded in seventeenth-century debates about authority and power. Performed variously as escapist fantasy, celebratory fiction, and political allegory, The tempest is one of the plays in which Shakespeare's genius as a poetic dramatist found its fullest expression. Significantly, it was placed first when published in the First Folio of 1623, and is now generally seen as the playwright's most penetrating statement about his art.

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William Shakespeare

© 2018 Synapse Publishing


ALONSO, King of Naples

SEBASTIAN, his brother

PROSPERO, the right Duke of Milan

ANTONIO, his brother, the usurping Duke of Milan

FERDINAND, son to the King of Naples

GONZALO, an honest old counsellor




CALIBAN, a savage and deformed slave

TRINCULO, a jester

STEPHANO, a drunken butler




MIRANDA, daughter to Prospero

ARIEL, an airy spirit







Other Spirits attending on Prospero

SCENE: A ship at sea; afterwards an uninhabited island


On a ship at sea; a tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard


MASTER. Boatswain!

BOATSWAIN. Here, master; what cheer?

MASTER. Good! Speak to th' mariners; fall to't yarely, or

we run ourselves aground; bestir, bestir. Exit


BOATSWAIN. Heigh, my hearts! cheerly, cheerly, my hearts! yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to th' master's whistle. Blow till thou burst thy wind, if room enough.


ALONSO. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master?

Play the men.

BOATSWAIN. I pray now, keep below.

ANTONIO. Where is the master, boson?

BOATSWAIN. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour;

keep your cabins; you do assist the storm.

GONZALO. Nay, good, be patient.

BOATSWAIN. When the sea is. Hence! What cares these

roarers for the name of king? To cabin! silence! Trouble

us not.

GONZALO. Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard.

BOATSWAIN. None that I more love than myself. You are

counsellor; if you can command these elements to

silence, and work the peace of the present, we will not

hand a rope more. Use your authority; if you cannot, give

thanks you have liv'd so long, and make yourself ready

in your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it so

hap.-Cheerly, good hearts!-Out of our way, I say.


GONZALO. I have great comfort from this fellow. Methinks

he hath no drowning mark upon him; his complexion is

perfect gallows. Stand fast, good Fate, to his hanging;

make the rope of his destiny our cable, for our own doth

little advantage. If he be not born to be hang'd, our

case is miserable. Exeunt


BOATSWAIN. Down with the topmast. Yare, lower, lower! Bring her to try wi' th' maincourse. [A cry within] A plague upon this howling! They are louder than the weather or our office.


Yet again! What do you here? Shall we give o'er, and

drown? Have you a mind to sink?

SEBASTIAN. A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous,

incharitable dog!

BOATSWAIN. Work you, then.

ANTONIO. Hang, cur; hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker;

we are less afraid to be drown'd than thou art.

GONZALO. I'll warrant him for drowning, though the ship were

no stronger than a nutshell, and as leaky as an unstanched


BOATSWAIN. Lay her a-hold, a-hold; set her two courses; off

to sea again; lay her off.


MARINERS. All lost! to prayers, to prayers! all lost!


BOATSWAIN. What, must our mouths be cold?

GONZALO. The King and Prince at prayers!

Let's assist them,

For our case is as theirs.

SEBASTIAN. I am out of patience.

ANTONIO. We are merely cheated of our lives by drunkards.

This wide-chopp'd rascal-would thou mightst lie drowning

The washing of ten tides!

GONZALO. He'll be hang'd yet,

Though every drop of water swear against it,

And gape at wid'st to glut him.

[A confused noise within: Mercy on us!

We split, we split! Farewell, my wife and children!

Farewell, brother! We split, we split, we split!]

ANTONIO. Let's all sink wi' th' King.

SEBASTIAN. Let's take leave of him.


GONZALO. Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for

an acre of barren ground-long heath, brown furze, any

thing. The wills above be done, but I would fain die

dry death. Exeunt


The Island. Before PROSPERO'S cell


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

With those that I saw suffer! A brave vessel,

Who had no doubt some noble creature in her,

Dash'd all to pieces! O, the cry did knock

Against my very heart! Poor souls, they perish'd.

Had I been any god of power, I would

Have sunk the sea within the earth or ere

It should the good ship so have swallow'd and

The fraughting souls within her.

PROSPERO. Be conected;

No more amazement; tell your piteous heart

There's no harm done.

MIRANDA. O, woe the day!

PROSPERO. No harm.

I have done nothing but in care of thee,

Of thee, my dear one, thee, my daughter, who

Art ignorant of what thou art, nought knowing

Of whence I am, nor that I am more better

Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell,

And thy no greater father.

MIRANDA. More to know

Did never meddle with my thoughts.

PROSPERO. 'Tis time

I should inform thee farther. Lend thy hand,

And pluck my magic garment from me. So,

[Lays down his mantle]

Lie there my art. Wipe thou thine eyes; have comfort.

The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touch'd

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

Betid to any creature in the vessel

Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink.

Sit down, for thou must now know farther.

MIRANDA. You have often

Begun to tell me what I am; but stopp'd,

And left me to a bootless inquisition,

Concluding 'Stay; not yet.'

PROSPERO. The hour's now come;

The very minute bids thee ope thine ear.

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.

MIRANDA. Certainly, sir, I can.

PROSPERO. By what? By any other house, or person?

Of any thing the image, tell me, that

Hath kept with thy remembrance?

MIRANDA. 'Tis far off,

And rather like a dream than an assurance

That my remembrance warrants. Had I not

Four, or five, women once, that tended me?

PROSPERO. Thou hadst, and more, Miranda. But how is it

That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else

In the dark backward and abysm of time?

If thou rememb'rest aught, ere thou cam'st here,

How thou cam'st here thou mayst.

MIRANDA. But that I do not.

PROSPERO. Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,

Thy father was the Duke of Milan, and

A prince of power.

MIRANDA. Sir, are not you my father?

PROSPERO. 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

And princess no worse issued.

MIRANDA. O, the heavens!

What foul play had we that we came from thence?

Or blessed was't we did?

PROSPERO. Both, both, my girl.

By foul play, as thou say'st, were we heav'd thence;

But blessedly holp hither.

MIRANDA. O, my heart bleeds

To think o' th' teen that I have turn'd you to,

Which is from my remembrance. Please you, farther.

PROSPERO. My brother and thy uncle, call'd Antonio-

I pray thee, mark me that a brother should

Be so perfidious. He, whom next thyself

Of all the world I lov'd, and to him put

The manage of my state; as at that time

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

And to my state grew stranger, being transported

And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle-

Dost thou attend me?

MIRANDA. Sir, most heedfully.

PROSPERO. Being once perfected how to grant suits,

How to deny them, who t' advance, and who

To trash for over-topping, new created

The creatures that were mine, I say, or chang'd 'em,

Or else new form'd 'em; having both the key

Of officer and office, set all hearts i' th' state

To what tune pleas'd his ear; that now he was

The ivy which had hid my princely trunk

And suck'd my verdure out on't. Thou attend'st not.

MIRANDA. O, good sir, I do!

PROSPERO. I pray thee, mark me.

I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated

To closeness and the bettering of my mind

With that which, but by being so retir'd,

O'er-priz'd all popular rate, in my false brother

Awak'd an evil nature; and my trust,

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,

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,

And executing th' outward face of royalty

With all prerogative. Hence his ambition growing-

Dost thou hear?

MIRANDA. Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.

PROSPERO. To have no screen between this part he play'd

And him he play'd 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, wi' th' King of Naples,

To give him annual tribute, do him homage,

Subject his coronet to his crown, and bend

The dukedom, yet unbow'd-alas, poor Milan!-

To most ignoble stooping.

MIRANDA. O the heavens!

PROSPERO. Mark his condition, and th' event, then tell me

If this might be a brother.

MIRANDA. I should sin

To think but nobly of my grandmother:

Good wombs have borne bad sons.

PROSPERO. Now the condition:

This 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,

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

The gates of Milan; and, i' th' dead of darkness,

The ministers for th' purpose hurried thence

Me and thy crying self.

MIRANDA. Alack, for pity!

I, not rememb'ring how I cried out then,

Will cry it o'er again; it is a hint

That wrings mine eyes to't.

PROSPERO. Hear a little further,