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Shakespeare Explained: Quick Questions on The Tempest

For more detailed information please see Examination Questions and Answers on The Tempest.

ACT I SCENE I

1. Where is the scene of this drama placed?

Scene i is on board a ship at sea; the rest of the action is on Prospero's Island.

2. Can you give a reason why Shakespeare begins this play with a storm?

Because he wished to draw the enemies of Prospero to his island in an apparently natural manner. This storm was caused by Prospero. Scene ii, lines 194 to 208. Some commentators suggest that the storm was intended to recall the foul play by which Prospero was robbed of his dukedom. In the author's day the elements were supposed to be in very close sympathy with human joys and sorrows.

SCENE II

3. What do you learn about Ferdinand?

Ferdinand is a son of the storm-wrecked king; of "brave form"; is drawn to Prospero and Miranda by Ariel's music; "he is gentle and not fearful" (line 467); and falls in love with Miranda immediately.

4. What expression of the Realistic, the Romantic, and the Supernatural does Shakespeare give in this act?

The conversation of the sailors, and the love between father and child are examples of Realism. Ariel's account of his part in the storm, and the bewitching of Ferdinand are examples of the Supernatural. The love of Ferdinand and Miranda for each other is an expression of Romance.

ACT II SCENE I

5. What description of the island does Gonzalo give?

"Here is everything advantageous to life." "How lush and lusty the grass looks! how green!"

6. What does Ariel do for Gonzalo?

He prevents Gonzalo from being killed while asleep by Antonio and Sebastian, by singing in his ear and waking him. Lines 305-310, Scene i.

SCENE II

7. What is the dramatic purpose of this humorous scene?

To contrast with the tragic; it temporarily relieves the mental and emotional strain of the spectators of the drama. The final result is to make the tragedy more effective by means of contrast.

ACT III SCENE I

8. What task does Prospero impose upon Ferdinand?

The task of removing and repiling several thousand logs. Line 10.

9. Compare the love scene of Miranda and Ferdinand with that of Romeo and Juliet; in what are they alike; how do they differ?

The love scenes of Miranda and Ferdinand and Romeo and Juliet are alike in that all four fall in love at first sight; that their fathers are enemies; that both girls are very young and childlike; that they profess their love at once. The scenes differ in that Miranda does not recognize her feeling for Ferdinand because she has never heard of such a thing as love; while Juliet recognizes her feeling for Romeo at once, her mother has already discussed marriage with her. The love of Ferdinand and Miranda adds brightness and light to the play while that of Romeo and Juliet bursts forth with a passion which portends tragedy.




10. Give as good a description as you can of Caliban.

Caliban has the body of a beast and the head of a deformed dwarf; he crawls upon all fours rather than walks upright. His passions are bestial, yet he sees the beauty in nature with a poet's mind. Act I, Scene i, lines 283-284; Act III, Scene ii, lines 26-40; Act III, Scene ii, lines 144-152; Act V, Scene i, lines 264-270, 287- 291.

11. How does the action of the play progress in this act?

Ferdinand's labors are rewarded by the gift of Miranda's hand, while Caliban, Stefano, and Trinculo are punished.

12. How does the author bring Prospero to release his prisoners?

Prospero, through study and reflection, resolves to release his prisoners if they show penitence for the past.

13. What do you think of Prospero?

A matter of personal opinion. He is calm, dignified, and scholarly, typifying a gentleman.

14. How does he present Ferdinand to his father again?

Alonzo looks into Prospero's cell, discovering Ferdinand playing chess with Miranda; then Ferdinand tells his father of his engagement to Miranda.

15. What do you think of The Tempest?

A personal question for each reader.

16. Why is it not a good play to be acted?

Because of the difficulty of presenting the supernatural on the stage and its unreality.

17. What do you learn from the epilogue?

Various interpretations are given this speech. The actor who took the part of Prospero makes a speech in words which seem to apply to the play, but in reality plead for the friendly judgment of the audience.


How to cite this article:
Lunt, Forrest. Shakespeare Explained. New York: Hearst's International Library, 1915. Shakespeare Online. 10 Jan. 2011. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/thetempest/sceneq.html >.
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