50 pages 1 hour read

William Shakespeare

The Tempest

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1611

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Act IV

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Act IV, Scene 1 Summary: “Before Prospero’s cell.”

Prospero frees Ferdinand and explains that “all thy vexations / Were but my trials of thy love, and thou / Hast strangely stood the test” (4.1.5-7). Prospero consents to Ferdinand’s marriage with Miranda but warns the young man that, should he bed her before the wedding, theirs will be a barren and discordant marriage. Ferdinand assures Prospero that he wants a long and happy life with her.

Prospero instructs Ariel to bring forth Alonso and his court so that Prospero can perform “another trick” on them in the form of a lavish entertainment called a masque. He tells Ariel to summon two of his fellow spirits, and together they appear as goddesses: Iris, rainbow maker and messenger; Ceres, lady of agriculture; and Juno, queen of the gods. The three sing a song of blessing to the young couple and summon nymphs and “reapers” who perform an elegant dance.

Prospero, suddenly remembering the plot on his own life, interrupts the masque and dismisses the sprites and other island deities. Ferdinand worries at the sudden halt to the festivities, and Miranda agrees that her father is angrier than she’s ever seen him.

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