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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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© 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
MASTER OF A SHIP
MIRANDA, daughter to Prospero
ARIEL, an airy spirit
Other Spirits attending on Prospero
SCENE: A ship at sea; afterwards an uninhabited island
THE TEMPEST ACT I. SCENE 1
On a ship at sea; a tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard
Enter a SHIPMASTER and a 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.
Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND, GONZALO, and OTHERS
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
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.
Re-enter SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, and GONZALO
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,
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.
Enter MARINERS, Wet
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.
Exeunt ANTONIO and SEBASTIAN
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
Enter PROSPERO and MIRANDA
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,
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