The Tempest: Act V, Scene i & Epilogue - Part 1

There is no content available!

To Access the full content, Please Purchase

  • Q1

    The play, The Tempest, highlights the theme of forgiveness and freedom. Comment on this statement expressing your views providing evidence from the play.

    Marks:20
    Answer:

    Some critics are of the opinion that the play, The Tempest, highlights the theme of revenge. Prospero, the protagonist, takes revenge on his enemies by raising a tempest with his magical powers. He separates Alonso from his beloved son Ferdinand with the help of Ariel. Both the father and the son think that the other is dead.

    However, towards the end of the play, the apparent acts of revenge give way to expressions of forgiveness, love, redemption and reconciliation. Bitter enemies become great friends. The bond of love is further strengthened with the bond of marriage.

    Anyone who analyses the plot of the play has to agree to the fact that Prospero has a right to get angry and take revenge. He is the wronged duke of Milan. His brother Antonio deceived him in connivance with King Alonso of Naples.

    As the Duke got interested in the study of Philosophy and magic he spent more and more time reading books and slowly became disinterested in the affairs of the state. He was aware of his responsibilities as the duke of Milan. So he entrusted the state affairs to his younger brother Antonio who became ambitious over the years. He conspired against his brother and expelled him from his dukedom with the help of King Alonso. He was cast adrift on a rotten ship along with his three year old daughter Miranda. Gonzalo, a noble courtier of Naples provided them with food, water, clothes and Prospero’s books of magic. They survived and drifted to an uninhabited island. There he survived and later on became the ruler of the island.

    There were other adversaries too. Caliban, a savage beast, cursed him for making him his slave and plotted to murder him with the help of Trinculo and Stephano. He also tried to outrage the modesty of his innocent daughter Miranda.

    After considering all these facts nobody would object Prospero taking revenge on his enemies in a world where people take revenge on flimsy grounds. Though he has all the reasons to take revenge Prospero chooses the path of forgiveness and reconciliation. Whether he influenced by the benevolent spirit Ariel in his decision to forgive his enemies is a thing of contention. Prospero says to Ariel in Act V, Scene I that if Ariel, being a spirit feels sorry for them how much more he would feel being one of their kind.

    “Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling

    Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,

    One of their kind, that relish all as sharply

    Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?”

    He says that he suffers the same pain they suffer and he will sympathise far more than Ariel sympathises. Though he is indignant about their evil deeds he chooses to go with his nobler instincts, which tells him to be compassionate because it is better to act virtuously rather than vengefully.

    Thus he resolves to forgive them provided they repent of their wrong doings. On seeing him in his ducal attire King Alonso readily repents and asks for forgiveness. He says he is willing to return the dukedom back to him. Prospero forgives him and consoles him saying he too have experienced the pain of the loss of his own child as the king is pained by the loss of his son. Soon he reveals that the king’s son is alive and is playing chess with his daughter in his cell.

    He forgives his treacherous brother Antonio on the condition that he accepts his right over his dukedom of Milan. He also forgives Sebastian for his conspiracy. Thus Shakespeare projects Prospero as an epitome of forgiveness and reconciliation. Prospero does not stop in merely forgiving his enemies but he makes friendship with them. That is why he approves of his daughters marriage with Alonso’s son.

    Prospero forgives the three rogues – Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano who conspired to murder him. Caliban is afraid that his master will punish him. He repents of his foolishness and promises to do things wisely in order to get Prospero's favour. Stephano and Trinculo are sobered with their confrontation with Prospero and Alonso. He even acknowledges Caliban his as his own.

    The theme of freedom also is discussed in the play. Prospero enslaves spirits such as Ariel. He also enslaves Caliban who was the original inhabitant of the island. Caliban resents his slavery and conspires to murder Prospero. At the end of the play Prospero gives freedom to both Ariel and Caliban.

    The idea of freedom and forgiveness reflects in the epilogue too. Prospero asks the audience to release him from the lonely island with their applause. He also asks for their forgiveness for his shortcomings. Thus the play ends on a happy note of forgiveness, reconciliation, freedom and love.

    View Answer
  • Q2

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

    Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,

    Yet with my nobler reason ’gainst my fury

    Do I take part: the rarer action is

    In virtue than in vengeance: they being penitent,

    The sole drift of my purpose doth extend

    Not a frown further. Go, release them, Ariel:

    My charm I’ll break, their senses I’ll restore,

    And they shall be themselves.

    (Act V, Scene I)

    (i) Why does Prospero say he is more sympathetic to his enemies than Ariel?

    (ii) Why does Prospero say that he is deeply afflicted by Antonio, Alonso and Sebastian?

    (iii) What guides Prospero more in his decision to forgive his offenders? What does he say about it?

    (iv) Give the meaning of:

    "the rarer action is

    In virtue than in vengeance: they being penitent,

    The sole drift of my purpose doth extend

    Not a frown further."

    (v) According to you what is main theme of the play? Quote a line that expresses this theme.

    Marks:10
    Answer:

    (i) Ariel reports the pitiable condition of the courtiers afflicted by Prospero's magic. He says that if he were a human being he would certainly feel pity for them. Prospero tells him that if he, being a sprit made of air, feels pity for them, how can he, being one of their own race, not feel sorry for their plight.

    (ii) Prospero says that he is deeply afflicted by the evils they have done to him. His brother Antonio usurped his dukedom with the help of Alonso and Sebastian and cast him out of Milan and set him adrift with his infant daughter in a rotten ship with the intention of drowning them in the sea.

    (iii) Prospero is guided by his nobler instincts. He says that he is deeply afflicted by the evils his enemies have done to him. It is rare to see someone treating one's enemy with forgiveness rather than with vengeance. But he is guided by his nobler instincts that urge him to be compassionate.

    (iv) Prospero says that it is rare to see someone treating one's enemy virtuously (with kindness and forgiveness) rather than with vengeance. Since his enemies are sorry for their evil deeds he does not want to afflict them anymore.

    (v) I think the most important theme highlighted in the play is forgiveness. Prospero is deeply afflicted by the cruel deeds of his own brother Antonio who connived with Alonso and Sebastian to usurp the dukedom and cast him out of Milan and set him adrift with his infant daughter. In spite of their cruelty he chooses to forgive them.

    Here is a quote from the play that highlights the theme of forgiveness:

    “Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,

    Yet with my nobler reason ’gainst my fury

    Do I take part:”

    View Answer
  • Q3

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

    Prospero

    Dost thou think so, spirit?

    Ariel

    Mine would, sir, were I human.

    Prospero

    And mine shall.

    Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling

    Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,

    One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,

    Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?

    Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,

    (Act V, Scene I)

    (i) What information does Ariel give Prospero regarding the royal party?

    (ii) What did Ariel do in order to remind Antonio, Alonso and Sebastian of their crimes?

    (iii) Who is Gonzalo? What is his present condition?

    (iv) Does Prospero take revenge on his enemies? How does he react when Ariel brings them before him?

    (v) Give the meaning of:

    “Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling

    Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,

    One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,

    Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?”

    Marks:10
    Answer:

    (i) Ariel reports that the King, his brother and Prospero's brother are waiting on the beach in a distraught state of mind and the others are grieving over their condition. They are sad and dismayed. Prospero's magic spell has affected them so strongly that if he sees them in such a condition he would feel sorry for them.

    (ii) After the shipwreck the royal party collapses on the beach, exhausted by their search for Ferdinand. They are depressed and hungry. Under the guidance of Prospero Ariel arranges a masque and a banquet for them. As they are ready to eat, Ariel makes the banquet disappear and accuses Antonio, Sebastian and Alonso of treachery. He reminds them of the sins they have committed and makes them feel guilty for their crimes against Prospero and his innocent daughter.

    (iii) Gonzalo is an and honest old Lord who made sure Prospero had enough food, water and clothes to survive when Prospero was booted out of Milan and set adrift with his infant daughter. Ariel tells that now Gonzalo is in a miserable condition with tears running down his beard like icicles from thatched roofs.

    (iv) Prospero does not take revenge on his enemies but instead forgives all of them. He appears before them in his ducal attire and reminds them of their crimes. When they repent of their crimes and return his dukedom he forgives them whole heartedly.

    (v) Prospero tells Ariel that just as he feels sympathy for them he too will feel pity for his enemies. He exclaims that if Ariel, a spirit made of air, feels pity for them, how can he, being one of their own race, not feel sorry for their plight and moved by it more than Ariel himself was moved.

    View Answer