Short summary - The Tempest - William Shakespeare

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Tempest
William Shakespeare

The play takes place on a secluded island, where all the fictional characters are transferred from different countries.

Ship at sea. Storm. Thunder and lightning. The ship's crew is trying to save him, but the noble passengers - the Neapolitan king Alonzo, his brother Sebastian and son Ferdinand, the Duke of Milan Antonio and the nobles accompanying the king distract the sailors from work. The boatswain sends passengers to cabins in the most unpleasant terms. When King Gonzalo's old virtuous adviser tries to shout at him, the sailor replies: «These roaring ramparts do not care about kings! March on the cabins! »However, the team’s efforts do not lead to anything - to the plaintive cries of some and the curses of others, the ship goes to the bottom. This sight breaks the heart of fifteen-year-old Miranda, the daughter of the mighty wizard Prospero. He and his father live on an island on the banks of which an unfortunate ship crashes. Miranda prays to her father to use his art and pacify the sea. Prospero reassures daughter: "By the power of my art / Arranged in such a way that everyone remained alive." An imaginary shipwreck conjured by a magician to arrange the fate of his beloved daughter. For the first time, he decides to tell Miranda the story of their appearance on the island. Twelve years ago, Prospero, then the Duke of Milan, was ousted from the throne by his brother Antonio, with the support of the Neapolitan King Alonzo, to whom the usurper pledged to pay tribute. However, the villains did not dare to immediately kill Prospero: the duke was loved by the people. He and his daughter were put on an unusable ship and thrown into the open sea. They were saved only thanks to Gonzalo - a compassionate nobleman provided them with supplies, and most importantly, the wizard says, "he allowed me to / with myself to capture those tomes, / that I value above the duchy." These books are the source of Prospero's magical power. After a forced voyage, the duke and his daughter got to an island that was already inhabited: the disgusting Caliban, the son of the evil sorceress Sykoraksy, expelled for numerous atrocities from Algeria, and the air spirit Ariel lived on it. The witch tried to force Ariel to serve herself, but he was "too clean to fulfill / Her orders were bestial and evil." For this, Sycorax pinched Ariel in a split pine, where he suffered for many years without hope of release, since the old sorceress died. Prospero released a beautiful and powerful spirit, but obligated himself to thank himself, promising freedom in the future. Caliban became a slave to Prospero, doing all the dirty work. The witch tried to force Ariel to serve herself, but he was "too clean to fulfill / Her orders were bestial and evil." For this, Sycorax pinched Ariel in a split pine, where he suffered for many years without hope of release, since the old sorceress died. Prospero released a beautiful and powerful spirit, but obligated himself to thank himself, promising freedom in the future. Caliban became a slave to Prospero, doing all the dirty work. The witch tried to force Ariel to serve herself, but he was "too clean to fulfill / Her orders were bestial and evil." For this, Sycorax pinched Ariel in a split pine, where he suffered for many years without hope of release, since the old sorceress died. Prospero released a beautiful and powerful spirit, but obligated himself to thank himself, promising freedom in the future. Caliban became a slave to Prospero, doing all the dirty work.

At first, the magician tried to «civilize» the ugly savage, taught to speak, but could not defeat his base nature. Father puts Miranda in a magical dream. Ariel appears. It was he who defeated the Neapolitan fleet, returning from Tunisia, where the king celebrated the wedding of his daughter with the Tunisian king. It was he who drove the royal ship to the island and played a shipwreck, locked the team in the hold and put to sleep, and scattered noble passengers along the shore. Prince Ferdinand was left alone in a deserted place. Prospero orders Ariel to turn into a sea nymph, and only visible to the wizard himself, and with sweet singing lure Ferdinand to the cave in which father and daughter live. Then Prospero calls Caliban. Caliban, who believes that he "received this island by right / From his mother," and the wizard robbed him, rude to his master, and he in response showers him with reproaches and terrible threats. The evil freak is forced to submit. An invisible Ariel appears, he sings, spirits echo him. Drawn by magical music, Ariel is followed by Ferdinand. Miranda is delighted: «What is this? Spirit? Oh God, / How beautiful he is! »Ferdinand, in turn, seeing Miranda, mistook her for a goddess, so beautiful and sweet is the daughter of Prospero. He announces that he is the King of Naples, because his father had just died in the waves, and he wants to make Miranda the Queen of Naples. Prospero is pleased with the mutual inclination of young people. «They,» he says, «are fascinated by each other. But it should / Obstacles to create for their love, / So as not to depreciate it with ease. " The old man assumes austerity and accuses the prince of imposture. Despite the touching pleas of her daughter, he defeats the resisting Ferdinand with the help of witchcraft and slaves him. Ferdinand, however, is pleased: "From my prison at least briefly / I can see this girl." Miranda consoles him. The magician praises his assistant Ariel and promises him fast freedom, while he gives new instructions.

On the other side of the island, Alonzo mourns for his son. Gonzalo clumsily tries to console the king. Antonio and Sebastian are tricking the elderly courtier. They blame Alonzo for the misfortunes that have occurred. To the sound of solemn music, an invisible Ariel appears. He casts a magical dream on the king and nobles, but two villains - Sebastian and usurper Antonio - remain awake. Antonio incites Sebastian to fratricide, he promises him a reward for his help. The swords are already drawn, but Ariel intervenes, as always, to the music: he wakes Gonzalo, and he wakes everyone else. An unscrupulous couple manages to somehow get out.

Caliban meets in the forest of the jester Trinkulo and the royal butler, Stefano's drunkard. The latter immediately treats the freak with wine from a salvaged bottle. Caliban is happy, he declares Stefano his god.

Ferdinand, Prospero enslaved, drags logs. Miranda seeks to help him. Between young people there is a gentle explanation. The moved Prospero quietly watches them.

Caliban invites Stefano to kill Prospero and take over the island. The whole company gets drunk. They are sober and not so smart as wise guys, and then Ariel begins to fool them and confuse them.

A laid table appears in front of the king and his retinue with strange music, but when they want to start eating, everything disappears, under the thunderous rumors Ariel appears in the form of a harpy. He reproaches those present for the crime committed against Prospero and, frightening with terrible torment, calls for repentance. Alonzo, his brother and Antonio are going crazy.

Prospero announces to Ferdinand that all his torment is only a test of love, which he withstood with honor. Prospero promises his daughter a wife to the prince, but for now, in order to distract young people from immodest thoughts, he orders Ariel and other spirits to play an allegorical performance in front of them, of course, with singing and dancing. At the end of the ghostly performance, the father-in-law tells the prince: «We are made of the same substance, / That our dreams. And surrounded by sleep / All our little life. "

Led by the Caliban, Stefano and Trinculo enter. In vain the savage calls them for decisive action - greedy Europeans prefer to pull bright rags hung by Ariel from the rope especially for this case. Spirits in the form of hounds of dogs appear, the invisible Prospero and Ariel incite them to the unlucky thieves. Those with screams run away.


Ariel tells Prospero about the torment of criminal madmen. He feels pity for them. Prospero is also no stranger to compassion - he only wanted to lead the villains to repentance: "Although I am cruelly offended by them, / But a noble mind quenches anger / And mercy is stronger than revenge." He orders the king and his retinue to be brought to him. Ariel disappears. Left alone, Prospero talks about his decision to abandon magic, break his wand and drown magic books. Alonzo and his retinue appear to solemn music. Prospero performs his last magic - he removes the spell of madness from his offenders and appears before them in all greatness and with ducal regalia. Alonzo apologizes to him. Sebastian and Antonio Prospero promises to be silent about their criminal intent against the king. They are scared by the omniscience of the magician. Prospero hugs Gonzalo and gives him praise. Ariel is not without sadness released and will fly away with a fun song. Prospero consoles the king by showing him his son - he is alive and well, they and Miranda play chess in a cave and talk gently. Miranda, seeing the new arrivals, admires: «Oh miracle! / What a lot of beautiful faces! / How beautiful the human race is! And how good / That new world where there are such people! »The wedding is settled. The thoughtful Gonzalo proclaims: «Was it not for this that he was expelled from Milan / Duke of Milan, so that his descendants / reigned in Naples? Oh, rejoice! »Sailors come with the miracle of a rescued ship. He is ready to set sail. Ariel leads the bewitched Caliban, Stefano and Trinculo. Everyone makes fun of them. Prospero forgives thieves on the condition that they clean the cave. Kadiban is full of remorse: «I will fulfill everything. I will earn forgiveness / And I will become smarter in the future. Triple ass! / I considered a crappy drunkard a god! "Prospero invites everyone to spend the night in his cave, so that in the morning to sail to Naples" for the marriage of children. " From there, he is going to return to Milan, "in order to think about death in his spare time." He asks Ariel to do the last service - conjure a fair wind, and says goodbye to him. In the epilogue, Prospero addresses the audience: «Everyone is sinful, all forgiveness awaits, / May your court be merciful.»