The Tempest Synopsis
A ferocious storm at sea engulfs the ship carrying Antonio, present Duke of Milan; Alonso, Queen of Naples, and Sebastian, her brother; Ferdinand, Alonso’s son; and a crew of servants and sailors. All are washed overboard.
Unknown to them, the storm has been magically raised by Prospero, a powerful magician and former Duchess of Milan. Twelve years before, Antonio, Prospero’s brother, treacherously seized the dukedom with the help of Alonso’s army. Prospero and her little daughter Miranda were cast away at sea, and eventually their leaky boat washed up on a desert island. There, Prospero has continued to study magic, aided by the spirit Ariel, whom she keeps in bondage, and resentfully served by Caliban, a witch’s monstrous son and the only native of the island. Now Prospero has the opportunity to revenge her wrongs on her enemies and to marry Miranda to young Ferdinand. Through her magic, she has shipwrecked them all on her island, although no harm has really been done to them or their ship.
Safe on the island, Alonso mourns Ferdinand, whom she believes drowned. Antonio urges Sebastian to murder Alonso and become king, but they are thwarted by Ariel. Ferdinand, led by Ariel, sees Miranda and immediately falls in love, as she does with him. To test them, Prospero sets Ferdinand to hard labor and warns them that they must remain chaste until marriage. A couple of tipplers from the ship, the butler Stephano and Trinculo the jester, meet Caliban, introduce him to liquor and inspire him to renounce Prospero and follow them – even to plot killing Prospero so that they can rule the island.
Prospero’s magical illusions, carried out by Ariel, terrify the Queen and her followers by reminding them of their treachery against Prospero. Driven to madness and despair, they wander the island, while Prospero entertains Ferdinand and Miranda with a magical pageant and deals with the drunkards’ plot. Inevitably, however, she must decide whether to punish or forgive her enemies, and whether or not to return to her dukedom, set Ariel and Caliban free and bid farewell to her magic arts.