The Tempest: Act II, Scene i - Part 1

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  • Q1

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

    Sebastian: You were kneeled to and importuned otherwise

    By all of us, and the fair soul herself

    Weighed between loathness and obedience, at

    Which end o'th' beam should bow. We have lost your son,

    I fear, for ever. Milan and Naples have

    More widows in them of this business' making

    Than we bring men to comfort them.

    The fault's your own.

    (i) Who is Sebastian? Whom does he blame and explain why?

    (ii) How does Gonzalo object to Sebastian's words later in the context?

    (iii) Give the meaning of:

    “You were kneeled to and importuned otherwise

    By all of us, and the fair soul herself

    Weighed between loathness and obedience, at

    Which end o'th' beam should bow”.

    (iv) According to Sebastian how do Milan and Naples have more widows in them?

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

    a) importuned

    b) loathness

    c) beam

    Marks:10
    Answer:

    (i) Sebastian is Alonso's brother. He blames Alonso for the voyage which took the toll of Alonso's son Ferdinand. He wants to say that if they had not undertaken the voyage to get his daughter married to an African, Ferdinand would have been alive.

    (ii) Gonzalo says that Sebastian may be right but his words are cruel to say in the king's hour of grief over the supposed loss of his son Ferdinand. He is already inconsolable and Sebastian is only aggravating the king's agony.

    (iii) Sebastian blames Alonso saying that all of them knelt before him and requested him to act otherwise and his fair daughter herself, wavered long between the reluctance to go and desire to obey him, without knowing which side to incline.

    (iv) Sebastian seems to suggest that apart from the loss of Alonso’s son, many other men including the sailors might have died in the shipwreck during the voyage which will result in the making of more widows in Milan and Naples.

    (v) a) importuned: requested

    b) loathness: unwillingness

    c) beam: the weighing scale.

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  • Q2

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

    Gonzalo: Methinks our garments are now as fresh as when we put them on first in Africa, at the marriage of the King's fair daughter Claribel to the King of Tunis.

    (i) What seems to be something miraculous to Gonzalo that he mentioned in his previous speech?

    (ii)How is Gonzalo mocked at by Antonio just before this speech?

    (iii) Who is Claribel? From where is the party of passengers coming?

    (v) How does Sebastian describe Claribel's marriage later in the context?

    (vi) Comment on the characters of Antonio and Sebastian?

    Marks:10
    Answer:

    (i) Gonzalo wonders that their clothes which, though soaked in the sea, retain their brightness and gloss as if they had been dyed afresh rather than stained with salt water.

    (ii) Making fun of Gonzalo, Antonio says that if one of his pockets could speak it would say he told a lie as it had mud in it.

    (iii) Claribel is Alonso's daughter. The party of passengers aboard the ship that has 'wrecked' is coming from Africa where Claribel was married to the king of Tunis.

    (iv)Sebastian ironically remarks that the marriage was 'sweet' (unlucky). That was why, they had a 'prosperous' (disastrous) voyage back.

    (v)Both Sebastian and Antonio are wicked and cruel. They take delight in teasing and making fun of the simple-hearted Gonzalo. Whereas Gonzalo is in a sympathetic mood over the loss of Alonso's son, both of them are indifferent towards Alonso. In their attitude both are similar.

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  • Q3

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

    Gonzalo: Beseech you, sir, be merry; you have cause,

    So have we all, of joy; for our escape

    Is much beyond our loss. Our hint of woe

    Is common; every day some sailor's wife,

    The masters of some merchant and the merchant

    Have just our theme of woe; but for the miracle,

    I mean our preservation, few in millions

    Can speak like us: then wisely, good sir, weigh

    Our sorrow with our comfort.

    (i) Who is Gonzalo? Where is he now? To whom is Gonzalo speaking?

    (ii) What cause, according to Gonzalo, does the person spoken to have to be merry?

    (iii) Give the meaning of:

    “Our hint of woe

    Is common; every day some sailor's wife,

    The masters of some merchant and the merchant

    Have just our theme of woe;”

    (iv) Explain why Gonzalo say, “few in millions

    Can speak like us”?

    (v)How does Sebastian mock at Gonzalo’s words of comfort?

    Marks:10
    Answer:

    (i) Gonzalo is an old counsellor. He is on the island now. He is speaking to Alonso, the king of Naples.

    (ii) According to Gonzalo, Alonso has a good reason to be cheerful like all of them because of their escape from death is above all their losses.

    (iii) Every day some sailor’s wife, the officers of some merchant ship, the owner of the ship’s cargo, all experience the same loss they have undergone.

    (iv) Trying to console Alonso, Gonzalo says that the miracle that they are alive after the shipwreck, only happens to a few people out of millions. Therefore, he should remember it, the fact that they were saved and take comfort in it, to counterbalance their sadness.

    (v) Sebastian says the consolation Gonzalo offers is as indigestible to Alonso as cold porridge. In fact Sebastian is playing on the word ‘peace’ uttered by Alonso, taking it to mean ‘pease’ which is an ingredient of porridge.

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