50 pages 1 hour read

William Shakespeare

The Tempest

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1611

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Act V-Epilogue

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

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

Ariel reports that King Alonso and his court are confined by a magical charm to a nearby grove. All bemoan their crimes, and Gonzalo’s tears stain his beard. Ariel’s heart goes out to them, and Prospero admits that he too feels for them; now that they’ve become penitent, he has no further desire to punish them. He orders Ariel to release them, and he promises shortly to bury his magic staff and book of spells.

King Alonso and his court arrive and stand in a circle charmed by Prospero, their minds in a trance. The magician thanks Gonzalo for provisioning him at the start of his exile. He scolds Alonso and Antonio but tells his brother, “I do forgive thee, / Unnatural though thou art” (5.1.78-79). Prospero sends Ariel to fetch the sailors from the ship.

The trance fades, and Gonzalo wishes aloud that heaven save them from the island. Dressed in his regal attire, Prospero appears and welcomes Gonzalo. Alonso, regaining his senses, sees Prospero. Feeling as if he has somehow escaped madness, Alonso promptly renounces his military control of Prospero’s throne and begs forgiveness for his past behavior.

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