The Tempest: Act III, Scene i

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  • Q1

    Write the character-sketch of Miranda as portrayed in Act 3, Scene 1 of ‘The Tempest’.

    Marks:20
    Answer:

    Miranda is an innocent fifteen-year-old girl who has no experience with people. She has never seen another woman and has no knowledge of any other human being, except for her father and Caliban. She is unaware of her beauty because she does not know what feminine beauty is supposed to look like as she has never seen a girl in life.
    Miranda's compassion is evident in the first act, with her concern for the passengers caught up in the storm. Miranda is also justifiably indignant at her father's story of betrayal. Her tenderness is also evident when she begs her father not to use magic to control Ferdinand, whom she loves. She even begs Ferdinand to let her carry the logs for him.
    Miranda is an obedient daughter, as proved by her dismay when she forgets herself and reveals her name to Ferdinand. But she is also a young woman in love, and when her father is occupied, she immediately looks to release Ferdinand from his labours.
    Because of her isolation, she has developed no artful skills at flirting, and when Ferdinand tells her that he loves her, Miranda weeps. Their love scene is sweet and tender, and without artifice. Prospero watches this exchange, not just to control its outcome, but to protect his only child. Miranda is more vulnerable than most young women, and she needs a strong father to protect her. As such a strong authority figure, Prospero is well suited to protect Miranda from any dangers that this new experience might present. But his watchful observances also recall the godlike control that he has exercised over every other individual being and every action that has occurred on the island.
    In all that she does, Miranda is appearing as sweet and pure soul, and an honest and loving person.

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  • Q2

    Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow.

    Miranda: I do not know
    One of my sex; no woman’s face remember,
    Save, from my glass, mine own; nor have I seen
    More that I may call men than you, good friend,
    And my dear father: how features are abroad,
    I am skilless of; but, by my modesty,—
    The jewel in my dower—I would not wish
    Any companion in the world but you;
    Nor can imagination form a shape,
    Besides yourself, to like of. But I prattle
    Something too wildly, and my father’s percepts
    I therein do forget.

    (a) Who proposes to marry whom in this scene? [1]
    (b) Why could Miranda not see faces of many people in her life? [2]
    (c) How has Ferdinand declared his love to Miranda and how does she respond to it? [2]
    (d) What opinion do you form of Ferdinand from Act 3, scene 1? [2]
    (e) How does Prospero feel about his daughter’s marriage to Ferdinand? [2]
    (f) How does Miranda appear in these lines? [1]

    Marks:10
    Answer:

    (a) Miranda proposes Ferdinand to marry her. She tells that she will be Ferdinand’s maid or servant if she cannot be his wife.
    (b) Miranda was three years old when she and her father were put out to sea in a raft in exile. Miraculously, they both survived and reached safely on an island. She has never seen another woman on that island and has no knowledge of any other human being, except for her father.
    (c) Ferdinand says that he has not seen a woman as perfect as Miranda, and that he is ready to marry her. The couple finally take each other's hands, as they pledge their love.
    (d) In spite of Prospero's harsh treatment, Ferdinand is courteous and respectful to Prospero. He undergoes the hardships without any complaint and portrays himself as a fearless and courageous man.
    (e) Prospero watches the couple talking to each other. He is pleased to find the two young people fall in love with each other. This is exactly what he had planned and that was why he had ordered Ariel to lure Ferdinand to his cell.
    (f) Miranda represents all the best virtues of all the women rolled into one. She is shown as a beautiful, affectionate and caring lady.

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  • Q3

    How does Act 3, Scene 1 of ‘The Tempest’ affirm that Prospero is the absolute ruler of his small island?

    Marks:20
    Answer:

    Prospero is the rightful duke of Milan. Twelve years earlier, he found refuge on this island after his younger brother, Antonio, seized Prospero's title and property. Prospero functions as a god on the island, manipulating everyone within his reach with the help of a sprite, Ariel, who is also under his full control. Prospero is helpless against his enemies until they appear on a ship nearby; but when they are close enough, he uses his magic to create a storm and bring them under his control.

    Ferdinand is set to the same task of carrying logs as Caliban, a slave, has to do. Although he is a prince, Ferdinand must bow to the same authority that Caliban does. Even Miranda is not exempt from Prospero's rule. She is not supposed to speak to Ferdinand. Moreover, she is not permitted to reveal her name to him, although she does. As part of Prospero's power, he must pretend to oppose the romance between Miranda and Ferdinand; however, the audience knows that Prospero is not opposed to such a union, and in fact, he had hoped that they would love one another. But Prospero must maintain the illusion that the island is in his absolute control, and so, he imposes rules to guarantee his authority.

    In part, Prospero is playing the role that any father must play when his daughter has a suitor. Protecting Miranda's worth is tied to protecting her virginity; thus, he watches the courtship, unseen. Miranda is an obedient daughter, as proved by her dismay when she forgets herself and reveals her name to Ferdinand. But she is also a young woman in love, and when her father is occupied, she immediately looks to release Ferdinand from his labors.

    This scene leaves no doubt that Prospero is the absolute ruler of his small island.

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