The Tempest Summary provides a quick review of the
play's plot including every important action in the
play. The Tempest Summary is divided by the five acts
of the play and makes an ideal introduction before reading
the original text.
A huge storm batters a ship carrying Alonso, (the King
of Naples), Sebastian, (Alonso's brother), Ferdinand
(Alonso's son), Antonio, Gonzalo and others. They
are likely to die by shipwreck...
On the island near the storm, Prospero and his daughter
Miranda are introduced. We learn that Prospero has created
the storm battling Alonso and company's ship. Miranda
asks Prospero to stop the storm. We also learn that
Prospero was once the Duke of Milan but was banished
to this island with Miranda by Antonio, his brother
who took over Prospero's dukedom of Milan.
We are introduced to Ariel, Prospero's magic fairy
who tells us that the men onboard the ship have all
made it ashore unharmed as planned. Caliban, a misformed
beast is also introduced. Ariel leads Ferdinand to Miranda
and the two immediately fall in love. Prospero decides
to be rude to Ferdinand, fearful of too rapid a courtship.
The rest of the shipwreck survivors wake up on the
island. They are surprised that their clothes smell
and feel as fresh as if they had just been bought at
Ariel's song puts them all to sleep again except
for Sebastian and Antonio. Antonio who replaced his
brother Prospero as Duke of Milan manipulates Sebastian,
King Alonso's brother into doing the same thing
by replacing King Alonso. The two are about to kill
Alonso in his sleep but Ariel awakens everyone and they
make an excuse for drawing their swords out.
Trinculo, a jester on the ship, discovers Caliban and
quickly realizes that such a beast would earn a fortune
for him as a novelty in England. Stephano, Trinculo's
friend eventually finds Trinculo under Caliban's huge
frame. Stephano gives Caliban alcohol, causing Caliban
to think Stephano is more powerful than Prospero whom
Caliban hates. The three men set off together later
deciding to kill Prospero...
Prospero who is now invisible to Ferdinand and Miranda,
witnesses Ferdinand and Miranda expressing their deep
love for one another in words that rival Romeo and
Juliet in their tenderness. Ferdinand, realizing
he is witnessing a truly rare meeting of hearts, approves
of Ferdinand for his daughter. The scene ends with Ferdinand
taking Miranda for his wife. Prospero is pleased but
must now leave to attend to matters before supper...
Bottle in hand, Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban continue
on their mission to murder Prospero. Stephano starts
getting delusions of grandeur, which Caliban blindly
follows. Trinculo thinks Caliban is being foolish to
follow Stephano so blindly. Caliban suggests some gruesome
ways to kill Prospero. Ariel lures the group away with
his entrancing sounds...
Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Adrian and Francisco
and others witness a banquet on the island but it is
an allusion. Ariel returns and verbally punishes Alonso,
King of Naples, Antonio and Sebastian for their roles
in exiling Prospero, Ariel's master...
Prospero tells Ferdinand that he no longer will punish
him, but instead will freely give her daughter's hand
in marriage to him. Prospero conjures up a beautiful,
mythical, illusory party to celebrate, complete with
goddesses and nymphs.
Prospero instructs Ariel to lead the shipwrecked men
on the island to him. Remembering Caliban, Stephano
and Trinculo, Prospero has Ariel distract them with
clothes, Caliban failing to keep his friends focused
on killing Prospero. Prospero promises Ariel that he
will soon be free...
Prospero brings everyone except Caliban, Stephano and
Trinculo before him in a circle. Spellbound, he verbally
reprimands several of the men who exiled him. Prospero
tells Ariel that he will soon be free and that he will
miss him. Prospero also intends to destroy his ability
to use magic.
Making his presence known, Prospero forgives King
Alonso, and tells Sebastian and Antonio he will keep
secret their plan to kill Alonso, forgiving both.
The famously sweet scene of Ferdinand playing chess
with Miranda occurs. King Alonso is overjoyed to see
his son Ferdinand and soon learns of Ferdinand's imminent
marriage to Miranda.
Prospero forgives Stephano and Trinculo. Caliban is
embarrassed that he followed a fool (Trinculo). Caliban
is given his freedom. Prospero announces that in the
morning they will all set sail for Milan. Ariel is set
Prospero asks the audience to free him to travel back
to Naples reclaiming his life as Duke of Milan.