The Tempest: Act I, Scene ii - Part 2

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  • Q1

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

    Prospero: Thou liest, malignant thing; hast thou forgot

    The foul witch Sycorax, who with age and envy

    Was grown into a hoop? Hast thou forgot her?

    Ariel: No, sir.

    Prospero: Thou hast! Where was she born? speak; tell me.

    (i) Why is Prospero angry with Ariel?

    (ii) What does Prospero remind Ariel?

    (iii) Who was Sycorax? What did she do to Ariel, and why?

    (iv) Do you think Ariel is an obedient and nice spirit? Give reasons to justify your views.

    (v) Comment on Prospero's attitude towards Ariel.


    (i) After doing the assigned tasks, Ariel reminds Prospero that he has promised him his freedom. He says he has never disobeyed him. Prospero has promised to reduce his period of service by one year. This demand for freedom makes Prospero angry.

    (ii) Prospero reminds Ariel how he freed him from his great torture that he had undergone since Sycorax had imprisoned him in a pine tree.

    (iii) Sycorax was a wicked witch who was banished from Algiers and was brought to the island. As Ariel being a delicate spirit refused to carry out her hateful commands, she imprisoned him in an open pine tree. He languished there with pain for twelve years. It was Prospero who released him from his prison with his magic.

    (iv)Yes, I think Ariel is an obedient and nice spirit. He realises his mistake in demanding his freedom. So he seeks pardon and promises to obey all commands of Prospero without grumbling. It reveals that he is basically a nice, obedient spirit, unlike Caliban who is wicked and devilish by nature.

    (v) It appears that Prospero becomes angry at Ariel's premature demand of freedom. However, it can be justified as Ariel has many unfinished tasks which Prospero is to accomplish with his help. So we can conclude that Prospero is very rarely harsh in his dealing with Ariel. At times Prospero gives him considerate praise, frequently using words of encouragement and endearment. ‘My brave spirit’, ‘fine apparition’, ‘my quaint Ariel’, etc., are some of the phrase with which Prosepero acknowledges the services of Ariel.

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  • Q2

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

    Prospero: Hag-seed, hence!

    Fetch us in fuel; and be quick, thou'rt best,

    To answer other business.

    Shruggst thou, malice?

    If thou neglect'st, or dost unwillingly

    What I command, I'll rack thee with old cramps,

    Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar,

    That beasts shall tremble at thy din.

    Caliban: No, pray thee.—

    [Aside] I must obey: his art is of such power,

    It would control my dam's god Setebos, And make a vassal of him.

    (i) Who is Caliban? How is he used by Prospero?

    (iii) How did Prospero treat him in the past?

    (ii) What kind of relationship exists between Prospero and Caliban?

    (iv) How does Prospero threaten Caliban to obedience ?

    (v) Do you think that Prospero’s treatment of Caliban as a slave is justified? What impression do you form of Prospero from this?


    (i) Caliban is a deformed creature, looking more like a fish. He is the son of a witch called Sycorax. Prospero tried to humanize him in every way but to no avail. He has now come to use him to carry wood and make fire.

    (ii) Prospero treated him kindly in the past until he tried to outrage the chastity of his daughter. He taught him to speak so that he could express his thoughts. However, he failed to change his evil nature. So he imprisoned him in a rock-cave.

    (ii) There is a master-slave relationship between Prospero and Caliban. Caliban hates Prospero for usurping his island and controlling him by his magic. Prospero hates him for he has once tried to outrage the chastity of Miranda.

    (iv) Prospero tells Caliban that if he fails to bring some wood at once or disobey him in any way he would torture him with severe cramps and fill his bones with acute pain which will force him to roar loudly.

    (v) Prospero's harsh attitude towards Caliban is justified in view of Caliban's evil and vicious nature. Prospero’s past treatment of Caliban shows that he is basically a kind person. However, some critics condemn Prospero for being a colonialist who tames the savage to exploit him later.

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  • Q3

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

    Ariel : Safely in harbour

    Is the king's ship; in the deep nook, where once

    Thou calledst me up at midnight to fetch dew

    From the still-vexed Bermoothes, there she's hid:

    The mariners all under hatches stowed;

    Who, with a charm joined to their suffered labour,

    I have left asleep and for the rest o' the fleet,

    Which I dispersed, they all have met again, And are upon the Mediterranean flote,

    Bound sadly home for Naples;

    Supposing that they saw the king's shipwrecked,

    And his great person perish.

    (i) With whom does Ariel conversing here? Where is the king’s ship?

    (ii) Where is Bermoothes? Why did Ariel go there earlier?

    (iii) Where are the mariners? Where is the rest of the fleet?

    (iv) Earlier Ariel informed Prospero, as the spirit of fire, how he frightened the passengers of the ship. Explain it.

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

    a) still-vexed

    b)under hatches

    c) flote


    (i) Ariel is conversing with his master Prospero here. Ariel informs him that the king’s ship is safe in the harbour, hidden in a deep bay.

    (ii) ‘Bermoothes’ refers to The Bermuda Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. Ariel went there as instructed by Prospero to fetch dew.

    (iii) The mariners are all below the deck of the ship, sleeping due to the effect of the charm that has increased their fatigue from toil. Ariel scattered the rest of the ships but they have gathered again in the Mediterranean. They are now sailing sadly to Naples, believing that they witnessed the shipwreck and death of their great king.

    (iv) Ariel informed Prospero earlier that he has done the task in every detail. He burned like a flame and created terror and confusion. At times he divided into flames in a number of different places, on the highest mast, the crossmasts, the bowsprit, then he would unite into a single flame.

    (ii) The Boatswain does not like to be interrupted in any way while he is doing his duty sincerely along with other sailors. When the royal passengers, as usual, begin to give orders, he loses his self-control and wants them to go back to their cabins.

    (iii) Gonzalo asks the Boatswain to be patient and remember that there are important persons on the ship. The Boatswain reacts angrily and says that there is no one whom he cares about more than he does himself. He also tells the courtiers that if they cannot give orders to the storm, thunder and lightning to cease their fury, they should be thankful to the mariners for being alive still and go back to their cabins and get ready to meet their death which they are likely to meet soon.

    (iv) No, it is not. It is actually raised by Ariel under the command of Prospero. The storm in the first scene is dramatically significant as it is this furious storm which provides to the play its title 'The Tempest'. All the events that follow in the play are connected with the storm. The storm has no destructive effects but it is a benevolent one. Prospero, the protagonist of the play, makes use of the storm for isolating characters from places and people with whom they were familiar, thus enabling them to re-examine their actions and their relationships.

    (V) a) still-vexed: ever-agitated by storms

    b) under hatches: below the deck of the ship.

    c) flote: sea

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