The Tempest: Act I, Scene ii - Part 1

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  • Q1

    Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

    Prospero : Both, both, my girl:

    By foul play, as thou sayst, were we heaved thence,

    But blessedly holp hither.

    Miranda : O, my heart bleeds

    To think o'the teen that I have turned you to,

    Which is from my remembrance! Please you, further.

    (i) What are the two reasons that Prospero give for their coming to the island?

    (ii) Explain the foul play referred to in the extract.

    (iii) Explain the meaning of :

    O, my heart bleeds

    To think o'the teen that I have turned you to,

    Which is from my remembrance!”

    (iv) Who had helped them? What did the helper do?

    (v) How was Prospero unparalleled to others in dignity and learning when he was the duke of Milan?


    (i) The following are the two reasons that Prospero give for their coming to the island:

    a) They were thrown out by a foul play.

    b) It was a blessing in disguise that that they have reached the island.

    (ii) Prospero was the rightful Duke of Milan. He had great interest in the study of philosophy and magic and left the control of the state's affairs in the hands of his brother Antonio. He grew ambitious and in order to usurp his dukedom, he made a secret deal with the king of Naples. Then, one night Prospero and his daughter were ousted from the palace. They were put aboard a small, rickety boat with no mast nor sails and were left to die in the sea.

    (iii) Miranda wonders how painful it must be for Prospero to recall all the past incidents of betrayal done by his brother and the subsequent sufferings that they underwent, though Miranda can’t remember those incidents.

    (iv) Gonzalo, a noble courtier of Naples helped them. He provided them with food, water, rich garments and other necessities. He also kept Prospero's important books in the boat. Thus, they survived and arrived on the island.

    (v) During that period, Prospero, the Duke of Milan, was the most important Grand Duke, for he had earned a great reputation for himself. He was widely known both for his position and intellectual achievements. He devoted a lot of time to the study of liberal arts and had no equal in the knowledge of liberal arts.

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  • Q2

    Describe in detail the series of events that led Prospero and his daughter, Miranda to reach the island and critically evaluate Prospero’s narration of these events to Miranda.


    Miranda tells her father, Prospero, that she has seen a furious storm which caused a ship-wreck off the coast of the island. He assures Miranda that no harm has been done, and everything has been done for her good. Prospero, then, tells his daughter that he raised the storm with his magical powers, but he is sure to protect everyone who is on board from harm with his magical powers. Rather than explaining how everything has been done for her good, Prospero asks Miranda if she remembers anything of her infancy. Miranda says she remembers that several serving women cared for her. Prospero confirms the accuracy of her memory and tells her that he had been the duke of Milan until twelve years earlier. He confesses that he had been more devoted to study than to governing his realm and he had given over that responsibility to his brother, Antonio. Rather than serving as an honorable deputy, Antonio had desired power for himself. He grew ambitious and in order to usurp Prospero’s dukedom, he made a secret pact with the king of Naples. Antonio promised Alonso tribute where none had been paid before and with his help banished Prospero and took his place. At that time Miranda was three years old. They were put aboard an old boat with no mast nor sails and were left to die in the sea. His honest minister Gonzalo, although powerless to stop Antonio, supplied them with clothing, food, and significantly some of Prospero’s books. They did not perish, but were carried by the currents to an uninhabited island. There he brought her up.

    He tells his daughter that he raised the storm to bring his enemies close to him. Then he makes her sleep with his magical power.

    Prospero is also a father and reveals in the discussion with Miranda that follows that he is generally a kind and concerned one but is nonetheless strict. He alone has cared for and raised Miranda for the past twelve years, serving as her father, mother, protector, and schoolmaster. We get a glimpse in this scene of what his instruction as a schoolmaster must be like, as he delivers a lengthy history lecture — one that clearly moves him. We can note from his narration to Miranda, the jumbled nature of some of his sentences and the frequent elisions or contraction of words suggesting that his passions nearly burst beyond his words. He stops occasionally to make sure his pupil remains attentive and understands the lesson. Miranda’s replies indicate that she does indeed listen closely. Her sensitive nature causes her to be strongly moved by her father’s tale.

    The real exposition of the play takes place in Act I scene 2 and it is done by using the device of a conversation between the two characters, Prospero and his daughter Miranda. Prospero in his speech establishes a connection with what has happened in the first scene. Shakespeare has employed the retrospective method to establish a connection between the first scene and the second scene. Prospero’s narration provides a vehicle for the audience to learn more about both his character and Miranda’s and also provides more background and character information on the court party briefly introduced in the previous scene. Antonio is cast in the role of principal villain and the possible character on whom Prospero particularly desires revenge.

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  • Q3

    Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

    Miranda : If by your art, my dearest father, you have

    Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.

    The sky it seems would pour down stinking pitch,

    But that the sea, mounting to the welkins cheek,

    Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffered

    With those that I saw suffer! A brave vessel,

    Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her,

    Dashed all to pieces.

    (i) How does Miranda react on seeing a sinking ship in the sea storm?

    (ii) What does Prospero assure Miranda?

    (iii) What happened to Prospero twelve years ago?

    (iv) Why were Prospero and his daughter not killed?

    (v) Who helped Prospero when he was banished from his dukedom? How did he help him?

    (vi) Give the meanings of the following words as they are used in the context of the passage:

    a) art b) allay c) pitch


    (i) Miranda is deeply moved by the miserable plight of the passengers on the ship seeing it tossing in the furious storm at sea. She asks her father to calm the sea if he has raised the storm by his magical powers.

    (ii)Prospero tells Miranda that he has raised the storm for her good. He assures her that no passenger on the ship has been harmed, and all are safe. He says that she is upset because she does not know who she is and who he is in reality.

    (iii) Twelve years ago Prospero was the Duke of Milan. He left the management of state affairs to his brother Antonio. Antonio grew greedy of power, and one day he, with the help of the king of Naples and his loyal soldiers, usurped his throne. He and his two-year-old daughter Miranda were then put in an old, dilapidated boat, to drift and die in the sea. Luckily, they safely landed on an island.

    (iv) If Prospero and his daughter had been killed, there could have been bloody clashes in the state. So Antonio and his associates carried out their wicked designs secretly by sending him away from the dukedom in an old, dilapidated boat.

    (v) An old devoted lord Gonzalo helped Prospero. He put all the necessary things, clothes, linens and Prospero's valuable books in the boat. These proved to be very helpful to Prospero and Miranda when they lived a secluded life on the island.

    (vi) a) art: magic

    b) allay: subside

    c) pitch: black tar-like substance

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