Summary: 'The Tempest' Act 4 and 5

Caliban from The Tempest
Caliban from The Tempest.

The Tempest, Act 4

Enter Prospero, Miranda and Ferdinand. Prospero tells Ferdinand that he punished him ‘too austerely’ and that Ferdinand has followed his orders and therefore has made amends.

Prospero allows Ferdinand to take his daughter as his wife but warns him that he will suffer if he takes Miranda’s maidenhood before he marries her – Prospero warns that he will be watching Ferdinand. Ferdinand promises to be chaste until the wedding day.

Prospero asks Ariel to summon Iris, Ceres and Juno to bless the lovers. Nymphs and spirits join in to sing and dance. Prospero then remembers Caliban’s plot and orders the spirits away. Prospero looking distracted and distempered makes his excuses and Miranda and Ferdinand leave believing him to be tired.

Prospero informs Ariel that they must plan to meet with Caliban. Ariel explains that he left them drunk, having led them through ‘toothed briars, sharp furzes, pricking gorse and thorns’ to a murky pool near Prospero’s cell.

Stefano, Trinculo and Caliban enter wet and disgruntled at having lost their bottles in the water. Caliban is trying to keep the two men focussed who have lost sight of their plan. Caliban flatters Stefano and reminds him what is as stake and he says that he is in the mood for killing.

They then stumble on Prospero’s cloak and other pieces of grandeur and Stefano and Trinculo are distracted trying them on.

Caliban urges them to complete the deed but greed overwhelms them and they ignore him loading him up with garments they intend to steal.

Then on Prospero’s cue spirits arrive in the shape of hounds, hunting them and chasing them, Prospero orders them to ‘grind their joints’. Prospero is pleased they have been chased off and promises to grant Ariel’s freedom shortly.

The Tempest, Act 5

Enter Prospero in magic robes and Ariel. Prospero asks after the king and his followers, Ariel explains they are confined together, all prisoners as they were left. Ariel reports that Gonzalo has been weeping over the state of his companions and Prospero explains that if they demonstrate regret for their wrongdoings, he will forgive them and set them free.

Prospero casts a spell and Ariel brings the king and his men before Prospero. Prospero undoes the charm he has placed on the men and forgives them. After Ariel has helped Prospero dress as the Duke of Milan, Prospero asks Ariel to wake the mariners and bring them to the island. Prospero asks the men to welcome him as the Duke of Milan and forgives his brother, asking for him to return his dukedom.

Alonso speaks of the loss of his son and his regret. Prospero ambiguously explains that he lost his daughter in the tempest too.

Prospero and the men discover Miranda and Ferdinand playing chess together and they explain their love for each other to Alonso who asks Miranda for forgiveness.

Gonzalo explains that they have all found themselves on this isle “all of us ourselves, when no man was his own.” Ariel enters with the Boatswain who is pleased to find his king and company alive.

Prospero then orders Ariel to set Caliban and his companions free. When Caliban arrives with his companions Prospero explains what they did and explains who Caliban is but takes responsibility for him. Caliban acknowledges his foolishness for worshipping the drunken Stefano as a god.

Prospero invites the king back to his cell where he says he will explain how he got to the island and survived and tells him that they will then travel back to Naples for the wedding of Miranda and Ferdinand. Prospero then sets Ariel free.

Prospero, having pardoned his deceivers, asks to be released from the island’s spell, renouncing his magic, and asks to be returned to Naples safely.

That concludes The Tempest.