The Tempestby William Shakespeare
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This joyous play, the last comedy of Shakespeare's career, sums up his stagecraft with a display of seemingly effortless skill. Prospero, exiled Duke of Milan, living on an enchanted island, has the opportunity to punish and forgive his enemies when he raises a tempest that drives them ashore--as well as to forestall a rebellion, to arrange the meeting of his daughter, Miranda, with an eminently suitable young prince, and, more important, to relinquish his magic powers in recognition of his advancing age. Richly filled with music and magic, romance and comedy, the play's theme of love and reconciliation offers a splendid feast for the senses and the heart.
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list of parts
PROSPERO, the right Duke of Milan
MIRANDA, his daughter
ALONSO, King of Naples
SEBASTIAN, his brother
ANTONIO, Prospero's brother, the usurping Duke of Milan
FERDINAND, son to the King of Naples
GONZALO, an honest old councillor
ADRIAN and FRANCISCO, lords
TRINCULO, a jester
STEPHANO, a drunken butler
MASTER, of a ship
CALIBAN, a savage and deformed slave
ARIEL, an airy spirit
IRIS, CERES, JUNO, spirits commanded by Prospero playing roles of NYMPHS, REAPERS
The Scene: an uninhabited island
Act 1 Scene 1 running scene 1
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, boatswain?
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 a 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 lived 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.
Exeunt [Boatswain with Mariners, followed by Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio and Ferdinand]
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 hanged, our case is miserable. Exit
BOATSWAIN Down with the topmast! Yare! Lower, lower! Bring her to try with main course. (A cry within) A plague upon this howling! They are louder than the weather or our office.
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, incharitable dog!
BOATSWAIN Work you then.
ANTONIO Hang, cur! Hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker! We are less afraid to be drowned 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 wench.
BOATSWAIN Lay her ahold, ahold! 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'm out of patience.
ANTONIO We are merely cheated of our lives by drunkards. This wide-chopped rascal: would thou mightst lie drowning, the washing of ten tides!
GONZALO He'll be hanged yet,
Though every drop of water swear against it
And gape at wid'st to glut him. [Exeunt Boatswain and Mariners]
A confused noise within
[VOICES OFF-STAGE] 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, anything. The wills above be done! But I would fain die a dry death.
Act 1 Scene 2 running scene 2
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 -
Dashed all to pieces. O, the cry did knock
Against my very heart. Poor souls, they perished.
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 swallowed, and
The fraughting souls within her.
PROSPERO Be collected:
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 further. Lend thy hand
And pluck my magic garment from me. So:
Lie there, my art. Wipe thou thine eyes, have his magic cloak comfort.
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
Betid to any creature in the vessel
Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink. Sit down, [Miranda sits]
For thou must now know further.
MIRANDA You have often
Begun to tell me what I am, but stopped
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 see'st 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 blessèd wast we did?
PROSPERO Both, both, my girl.
By foul play - as thou say'st - were we heaved thence,
But blessedly holp hither.
MIRANDA O, my heart bleeds
To think o'th'teen that I have turned you to,
Which is from my remembrance. Please you, further.
PROSPERO 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
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 changed 'em,
Or else new formed 'em; having both the key
Of officer and office, set all hearts i'th'state
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.
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 retired,
O'er-prized all popular rate, in my false brother
Awaked 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 played,
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 - wi'th'King of Naples
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.
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,
And then I'll bring thee to the present business
Which now's upon's: without the which, this story
Were most impertinent.
MIRANDA Wherefore did they not
That hour destroy us?
PROSPERO Well demanded, wench:
My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not,
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
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,
Did us but loving wrong.
MIRANDA Alack, what trouble
Was I then to you!
PROSPERO O, a cherubin
Thou wast that did preserve me. Thou didst smile,
Infusèd 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.
MIRANDA How came we ashore?
PROSPERO By providence divine.
Some food we had, and some fresh water, that
A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo,
Out of his charity - who being then appointed
Master of this design - did give us, with
Rich garments, linens, stuffs and necessaries,
Which since have steaded much. So, of his gentleness,
Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom.
MIRANDA Would I might
But ever see that man.
PROSPERO Now I arise: Prospero stands
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 princes can that have more time
For vainer hours, and tutors not so careful.
MIRANDA Heavens thank you for't. And now, I pray you,
For still 'tis beating in my mind: your reason
For raising this sea-storm?
PROSPERO Know thus far forth:
By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune -
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
Will ever after droop. Here cease more questions:
Thou art inclined to sleep. 'Tis a good dullness,
And give it way: I know thou canst not choose.- Miranda
Come away, servant, come. I am ready now. sleeps
Approach, my Ariel, come.
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
Ariel and all his quality.
PROSPERO Hast thou, spirit,
Performed to point the tempest that I bade thee?
ARIEL To every article.
I boarded the king's ship: now on the beak,
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
O'th'dreadful thunderclaps, 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.
PROSPERO My brave spirit!
Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil
Would not infect his reason?
ARIEL Not a soul
But felt a fever of the mad and played
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 leaped; cried 'Hell is empty
And all the devils are here.'
PROSPERO Why, that's my spirit!
But was not this nigh shore?
ARIEL Close by, my master.
PROSPERO But are they, Ariel, safe?
ARIEL 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,
Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs
In an odd angle of the isle, and sitting,
His arms in this sad knot. [Folds his arms]
Meet the Author
William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death.
Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.
Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.
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....second only to 'The Winters Tale'. The main character serves as an image for a loving father, God Himself even. I was afraid when I took a course on Shakespeare that his stories would be too hard to follow in their old language, but it's really not that hard if you just stay focused and refer to Cliffsnotes whenever you get really lost.
A total classic i loved it
This is awesome because i had a play about it and i didnt even know about it and it helped me my favorite charecter was areal (because she was my part)
Not a big fan..
A southwest wind blow on ye and blister ye all o'er!
I thought it was a good story
GO SHAKESPEARE GO!!! YOU ROCK!!!!