David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST — Act 1, Scene 2

— 1.2 —

On the island, the exiled Duke of Milan, whose name was Prospero, and his daughter, whose name was Miranda, watched the storm at sea.

Miranda said, “If by your magic, my dearest father, you have put the wild waters in this uproar, calm them. The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking and burning — because struck by lightning! — black tar instead of rain, except that the sea, whose high waves climb to the face of the sky, dashes the fire out. I have suffered with those whom I saw suffer. I have seen a splendid ship that had, no doubt, some noble men in her dashed all to pieces. The cries I heard knocked against my very heart and broke it. Poor souls, they have perished. Had I been a god with enough power to control the sea, I would have sunk the sea within the earth before it would have so swallowed the good ship and the cargo of souls it carried.”

“Be calm and collected,” Prospero replied. “Do not be terrified any longer. Tell your heart that pities the souls on the ship that no harm has been done.”

“This is a woeful day!” Miranda cried.

“No,” Prospero said. “No harm has been done. I have done nothing except for you, my dear one, my daughter, who are ignorant of who you are. You know nothing of who I am or where I came from. You do not know that I am of higher rank than the Prospero you know, who is the head of a very poor dwelling and who is your father.”

“I have never thought that I would learn more,” Miranda said.

“It is time that I should give you more information. Help me take off my magic cloak. Thank you.”

Prospero lay his magic cloak on the ground and said, “Lie there, my art.”

As a magician, Prospero used a magic cloak, a magic wand, and books of magic.

Prospero and Miranda sat on the ground.

He said to his daughter, “Wipe your eyes, and be comforted. With my magic, I created this direful spectacle of the shipwreck that has aroused your virtuous compassion; however, I have used my magic in such a way that no one has been hurt. Not a single hair on anyone’s head was harmed in this shipwreck that you saw, despite the cries that you heard. But sit down now because you need to learn more about your family history.”

“You have often begun to tell me who I am and what our history is, but then you have stopped and have not answered any of my questions. You always told me, ‘Wait! I won’t tell you yet!’”

“The hour has now come for your questions to be answered,” Prospero said. “This very minute you should open your ears, listen, and be attentive. Can you remember a time before we came to this island? I do not think you can because when we came here you were not fully three years old.”

“Yes, sir, father, I can,” Miranda said.

“What do you remember? Do you remember a house or a person? Tell me whatever you remember.”

“The memory seems far distant and more like a dream than a definite recollection. But didn’t I once have four or five women who took care of me?”

“Yes, you did, Miranda, and you had more women than that looking after you. But how is it that you remember this when you were so young? What else do you remember from the depths of the past? If you can remember something from the time before we came here, you may remember how we came here.”

“But I do not remember that.”

“Twelve years ago, Miranda, your father was the Duke of Milan and a powerful Prince.”

“Sir, aren’t you my father?”

“Your mother was a model of virtue, and she said that you are my daughter; as I said, your father was the Duke of Milan, and you are his only heir. You are no less noble in descent than a Princess.”

“What foul play were we the victims of, that we had to leave Milan? Or was it a blessing when we left?”

“Both, my daughter,” Prospero said. “By foul play, as you said, were we heaved out of Milan, but it is a blessing that we came to this island.”

“My heart bleeds when I think of the trouble that I must have been to you, although I cannot even remember that time. Please tell me more.”

“My brother and your uncle, whose name is Antonio — pay attention — I can’t believe that a brother should be so deceitful and untrustworthy. I loved Antonio next to myself of everything in the world, and I allowed Antonio to govern Milan. At that time, Milan was the first among the city-states and I, Prospero, was the Duke of Milan — the most important Duke in Italy. I had a reputation for nobleness and excellence, and no one could rival my learning in the liberal arts, both the trivium— grammar, logic, and rhetoric — and the quadrivium— arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. I studied constantly and so allowed my brother to rule Milan, delegating to him my state duties. The citizens of Milan grew accustomed to seeing my brother and seldom saw me. I also studied the art of magic — are you listening to me?”

“Very carefully, father.”

“My brother learned well how to play power politics. He learned how to grant some requests and how to deny other requests. He learned whom to advance and whom to tear down because they had grown too powerful. He created allies for himself out of those who had been my allies. He also changed some people’s positions and brought in new people who were loyal to him. He had the keys of office — the keys that belong to an officer — and the people at court played his tune. He became the parasitic ivy that covered the trunk and leaves of the tree that was me, and the ivy killed the tree’s leaves and so killed the tree’s vitality — you have stopped listening to me!”

“Good sir, I am listening, father,” Miranda said.

Prospero knew that Miranda was listening, but he knew the information he was telling her was important and he wanted her to pay special attention to it.

“Please, pay attention,” Prospero said. “I neglected my worldly duties and dedicated myself to seclusion and the bettering of my mind with knowledge that was of greater value than most people would value it. My trust in my brother was without limit, without bound. A good parent often has a bad child. My trust in my brother was like that of a good parent, but it gave birth in my brother to evil desires — because I neglected my Duke’s duties and remained secluded in order to study, the evil in my brother’s nature awoke. He had the power of the Duke of Milan, and he had the income of the Duke of Milan — along with whatever other income his power allowed him to extort. He became used to the power and the income, and he began to think that he — not I — was the real Duke of Milan. He told himself this lie so often that he believed it and so made his memory commit a sin against truth. His ambition grew — are you still listening, daughter?”

“Your tale, sir, would cure deafness,” Miranda said.

Prospero thought, The acquisition of knowledge is good, but so is doing your duty. I neglected to do my duty as Duke of Milan. It would have been better for everyone, including my brother, if I had done my political duty instead of studying magic. In this case, the study I undertook should have been whatever study would help me to become a better political ruler.

“My brother wanted nothing to separate the real Duke of Milan and the person who performed the role of the Duke of Milan, and so he decided that he needed to be the real Duke of Milan. He thought that for me, poor me, my library was a large enough Dukedom. He thought that I was no longer competent to govern worldly affairs. Therefore, he conspired — he was so thirsty for power — with the King of Naples. He agreed to give the King of Naples annual tribute, do him homage, subject his coronet to the King of Naples’ crown, and make the Dukedom of Milan — which had been previously unbowed — bend in homage to the Kingdom of Naples.”

“Oh, in the name of Heaven!” Miranda said.

“Note the agreement that he made with the King of Naples and the outcome that resulted, and then tell me whether he acted like a brother.”

“I would sin if I were to think anything but that my grandmother was noble. Good wombs have borne bad sons.”

“This is the agreement that my brother made with the King of Naples, who was always an enemy to me. In return for homage and I know not how much tribute, the King of Naples agreed that he would immediately drive out of Milan my allies and me and allow Antonio, my brother, to be the Duke of Milan. After they made the agreement, the King of Naples raised a treacherous army, and Antonio at midnight opened the gates of Milan, and in the dead of darkness the agents appointed for the purpose hurried away from Milan me and you, my crying daughter.”

“I pity you because of what you went through,” Miranda said. “I don’t remember crying then, so I will cry now. This is a story that wrings tears from my eyes.”

“Hear a little more about the past, and then I will talk about the present business that is now at hand. Unless you understand what has happened in the past, you will not understand what is happening now.”

“Why didn’t our enemies kill us the night they took us from Milan?”

“You ask a good question, daughter,” Prospero said. “My story does need to answer that question. Dear, they dared not kill us outright because my people loved me dearly. They could not kill us openly and bloodily, but instead they had to hide what they wanted to do. Briefly, they hurried us aboard a boat that carried us to the sea. There they prepared a rotten carcass of a boat; it was not fitted out for a sea voyage. It had no ropes, no sails, and no masts. Even the rats had instinctively deserted this rotten skeleton of a boat. Our enemies put us in the boat and left us to cry to the sea that roared at us and to sigh to the winds that pityingly sighed back at us; unfortunately, this added to our discomfort.”

“I must have been a burden to you,” Miranda said.

“You were no burden,” Prospero replied. “You were an angel who saved me. You smiled — you must have been infused with fortitude from Heaven. After I had cried and added my salt tears to the salt water of the sea and after I had groaned because of our desperate situation, I saw you smile and the courage to endure was born in me and so I was able to bear up against distress and withstand everything that ensued.”

“How did we come ashore?”

“We were assisted by divine Providence,” Prospero said. “A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo, was charitable. He gave us food and fresh water, as well as rich clothing, linens, household equipment, and necessities, which have ever since been very useful to us. He knew that I loved my books, and his noble character led him to supply me with volumes from my own library — books of magic that I prize above my Dukedom.”

“I wish that I could see that kind man someday!”

“Now I will stand up. Stay seated, daughter,” Prospero said. He put on his magic cloak and said, “Listen to the last of our sorrows at sea. Here at this island we arrived; and here have I, your schoolmaster, educated you better than other royal children who have more time to waste and tutors who do not take the pains that I do.”

Prospero thought, Females should be educated well, just like males; this world needs good brains. If we neglect human female brains, we are neglecting half of the human brains in this world.

“May God bless you for my education! And now, please, sir, father, for I still want to know, what is your reason for raising this tempest at sea?”

“You should know this. The goddess Fortune, bountiful Fortune, who was once my enemy, now favors me. By a strange accident, Fortune has brought my enemies to this shore. Because of my studies of magic, I know that my future depends on what I do now. I can reach my zenith — my highest point — if I seize the opportunity promised to me by a most auspicious star. But if I ignore this opportunity, my fortunes will forever after droop. Now ask no more questions.”

Prospero thought, The same knowledge can result in good or ill. My study of magic helped me lose my Dukedom because I neglected my political duties; however, my study of magic can help me to regain my Dukedom. If I do regain my Dukedom, I will need to concentrate on doing my political duties, not on studying magic.

With a wave of his hand, Prospero cast a spell to make Miranda sleep. He said to her, “You are growing sleepy. It is a good drowsiness; give in to it. I know that you cannot choose to resist it.”

Miranda slept.

Prospero then said into the air, “Come away from wherever you are, servant, come away. I am ready to talk to you now. Approach, my Ariel, and come to me.”

A shape-shifting immortal spirit of the air, Ariel could appear as either male or female, but was neither.

In the form of a young man, Ariel flew to Prospero and said, “Greetings, great master! Grave sir, greetings! I come to do your will, whatever it is: to fly, to swim, to dive into the fire, or to ride on the curled clouds. Ariel and all of Ariel’s colleagues will do whatever you wish.”

“Have you, spirit, performed in every detail what I told you to do in creating the tempest?”

“Yes, every detail,” Ariel answered. “I boarded the King of Naples’ ship. In the prow, amidships, on the poop deck, in every cabin, and here and there and now and again I flamed like St. Elmo’s fire and caused amazement. Sometimes I would divide myself and burn in many places. I would burn as separate flames on the topmast, the yardarms, and the bowsprit, and then meet and join together as one single flame. The Roman god Jove’s lightning bolts, which are the precursors of dreadful thunderclaps, were not more instantaneous and quicker than sight than I was. The fire and the deafening cracks of burning sulphur seemed to besiege the most mighty Neptune, god of the sea, and make his bold waves tremble. Indeed, his dread trident shook.”

“My splendid spirit!” Prospero said. “Was anyone so firm, so level-headed, that this disturbed confusion did not infect his reason and make him irrational?”

“Every soul felt a fever such as madmen suffer from; every soul did deeds of desperation. Everyone except for the mariners plunged into the foaming brine and abandoned the ship that was then all afire with me. The King’s son, Ferdinand, whose hair was standing on end and looked like reeds, not hair, was the first man who leaped into the sea, crying as he jumped, ‘Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.’”

“Why, that’s my spirit!” Prospero said. “And did this happen near shore?”

“It happened close to shore, master,” Ariel replied.

“Ariel, are the inhabitants of the ship safe?”

“Not a hair was harmed. Their wet garments trapped air and kept them above the water; these garments bear not a single blemish and are fresher than before their wearers jumped into the sea. As you ordered me, I have most of them dispersed in groups about the island. Only the King’s son, Ferdinand, is alone. I landed him by himself, and I left him cooling the air with sighs in an odd corner of the island. He is sitting with his arms crossed together in a sad knot.”

“Tell me what has happened to the ship’s sailors and to the rest of the fleet that was sailing with the King of Naples.”

“The King’s ship is safely in the harbor,” Ariel replied. “It is in the deep bay, where once you called me up at midnight to fetch dew from the storm-vexed Bermuda islands to use in your magic. In that deep bay, the ship is hidden. The sailors are all stowed below deck. I left them asleep, exhausted from their labor and charmed by my sleeping spell. As for the rest of the fleet that I dispersed with the tempest, they all have met together again and are sailing upon the Mediterranean sea, bound sadly home for Naples, believing that they saw the King’s ship wrecked and the King himself drowned.”

“Ariel, you have exactly performed what I ordered you to do, but more work remains to be done. What time is it?”

“It is past noon.”

“It is at least two o’clock,” Prospero said. “The time between six o’clock and now must by us both be spent most preciously and wisely.”

“Is there more toil?” Ariel asked. “Since you give me hard tasks to do, let me remind you what you have promised to me, a thing that you have not yet done.”

Prospero was not happy. Ariel had just promised a willingness to do many tasks — “I come to do your will, whatever it is: to fly, to swim, to dive into the fire, or to ride on the curled clouds. Ariel and all of his colleagues will do whatever you wish” — and now Ariel seemed not so willing to work for Prospero. Important events were at hand, and Prospero needed Ariel’s help. Still, he pretended to be angrier than he really was — he had good news for Ariel, and pretended anger now would make the later good news a splendid surprise.

“What is this?” Prospero asked. “Are you in a bad mood? What is it that you can demand?”

“My liberty.”

“Before the time of your servitude is over? I want to hear no more about this!”

“Please, remember that I have done worthy service for you. I have told you no lies, made no mistakes, served you without grudge or grumblings. You promised that if I served you well that you would reduce the period of my servitude by one full year.”

Prospero replied, “Have you forgotten from what torment I freed you?”


“Yes, you have forgotten, and now you think it is too hard a task for you to do my will and tread the ooze of the bottom of the salty sea, to ride upon the sharp wind of the north, and to do my bidding underground when the earth is hardened with frost.”

“I do not, sir.”

“Youlie, rebellious thing!” Prospero said. “Have you forgotten the foul witch Sycorax, who with age and malice and evil grew into the shape of a hoop? She was so stooped over that her chin met her knees. Have you forgotten her?”

“No, sir.”

“You have forgotten her. Where was she born? Speak; tell me.”

“Sir, in Algiers.”

“So you remember that, but because you so often forget the past, I must recount once each month in what a bad situation you have been. This damned witch Sycorax, because of many and various mischiefs and terrible sorceries that human ears ought not to hear, was banished from Algiers, as you know. Because of one thing, the people of Algiers would not take her life. Isn’tthis true?”

“Yes, sir.”

“This hag with a bluish shadow on her eyelids — a sign of pregnancy — was brought here heavy with child and here the sailors left her. You, my slave, as you call yourself, were then her servant. Because you were a spirit too delicate to obey her earthy and abhorred commands, you refused to carry out the orders she most wanted you to carry out.”

Prospero thought, You, Ariel, have never refused to carry out my orders. This is evidence that my orders are not evil.

Prospero added, “In response, she punished you. With the help of her more potent ministers — the agents of Satan — she confined you within a cloven pine, where you painfully remained a dozen years, within which time she died and left you there. You groaned with pain as often as the paddles of a millhouse wheel strike the water. During that time, this island had no being who bore a human shape, except for the son that she littered here — a freckled whelp given birth to by a hag.”

“Yes, Caliban, her son.”

Prospero, resenting the interruption, said, “You dunce! Of course, I mean Caliban! Caliban now works as my servant. You best know in what torment I found you. Your groans made wolves howl and penetrated the breasts of always-angry bears. The torment you endured was suitable for one of the damned, and Sycorax, being dead, could never free you from the cloven pine, but when I arrived on this island and heard your groans, I used my magic art and made the pine open and release you.”

“Thank you, master.”

“If you continue to complain, I will rend an oak open and plant you in its knotty entrails until you have howled away twelve winters.”

“I beg your pardon, master,” Ariel said. “I will obey your commands and perform my tasks without complaining.”

Prosper smiled at Ariel, and said, “Do that, and after two days I will set you free.”

The surprise good news had the effect on Ariel that Prospero had hoped for.

“You are a noble master!” Ariel happily exclaimed. “What shall I do? Tell me what you want me to do.”

“Assume the shape of a sea-nymph — a female water spirit,” Prospero ordered. “Be invisible to everyone except you and me. Go now, transform, and return. I know that shape-shifting takes effort and time — do it properly.”

Ariel exited, and Prospero thought, Ariel will be invisible to everyone except himself and me. Why should Ariel assume the form of a sea-nymph — a beautiful goddess of the sea? I haven’t seen a woman in 12 years! Why shouldn’t I have something pretty to look at?

Prospero said to Miranda, “Awake, dear heart, awake! You have slept well. Wake up!”

Miranda said, “The strangeness of your story made me sleepy.”

“Shake it off,” Prospero said. “Come on. We’ll visit Caliban, my slave, who never gives us a kind answer.”

“He is a villain, sir, whom I do not like to look at.”

“True, but we cannot do without him. He makes our fire, fetches in our wood, and performs other services that benefit us.”

They arrived quickly at Caliban’s cave, and Prospero called, “Slave! Caliban! Being of earth! Answer me.”

From within the cave, Caliban replied, “You have enough firewood to do you for a while.”

“Come forth from your cave, I say!” Prospero said. “There is other work for you to do. Come, you tortoise! Hurry!”

Having assumed the shape of a water-nymph, Ariel flew to Prospero, who said, “You are a fine apparition! My elegant Ariel, listen to me. I have work for you to do.”

Miranda was used to seeing spirits on the island, although now Ariel was invisible.

Prospero whispered in Ariel’s ear, and Ariel said, “My Lord, it shall be done.”

Ariel exited, and Prospero shouted to Caliban, “You poisonous slave, begotten by the devil himself upon your wicked dam, Sycorax, come here!”

Caliban came out of his cave and said, “May dew as wicked as ever my mother brushed with an ill-omened raven’s feather from an unwholesome marsh drop on you both! May an unwholesome southwest wind blow on you and blister you all over!”

“Because of your ill words, tonight you shall have cramps — side-stitches that will stop your breath,” Prospero said. “Goblins in the form of hedgehogs shall, during nighttime, when they do their evil work, torment you. You shall be tormented as many times as honeycombs have cells. Each torment will sting you more painfully than each sting of the bees that made the honeycombs.”

“I must eat my dinner,” Caliban said. “This island, which you have taken from me, is mine. I inherited this island from Sycorax, my mother. When you first came here, you patted me and made much of me. You would give me water with berries in it, and you would teach me the name of the bigger light — the Sun — and the lesser light — the Moon — that burn by day and night. Then I loved you and showed you all the features of the island: the fresh springs and the brine-pits as well as the barren places and the fertile places. Cursed be Caliban because Caliban did so! May all the evil spells of Sycorax, as well as toads, beetles, and bats, fall on you! I am all the subjects whom you have: just one. And I used to be my own King. But now here you pen me up like a pig in this cave in this hard rock, and you keep me from visiting the rest of the island.”

“You are a constantly lying slave, whom stripes made by whips may move, not kindness!” Prospero replied. “I have treated you, filth as I now know you are, with humane care, and I lodged you in my own dwelling until you tried to rape my daughter, Miranda.”

“Ha!” Caliban laughed. “I wish that I had raped her! You stopped me, or else I would have populated this island with many Calibans.”

“Abhorred slave,” Miranda replied, “you are incapable of doing any good and you are capable of doing any evil. I pitied you, took pains to teach you to speak, and taught you something new each hour. Back when you did not — savage as you were — know your own meaning, but would instead gabble like a most brutish thing, I endowed you with the power of speech so that you could make your meaning known. But your blood is bad, and although you did learn, good people cannot bear to be around you — a would-be rapist! Therefore, you have deserved to be confined in this cave. In fact, you deserve to be punished more harshly than merely to be placed in a prison.”

Caliban replied, “You taught me language; and my profit from learning it is that I know how to curse. May the red plague destroy you because you taught me your language!”

Prospero thought, Education is important, but more important than education is having a good character — one that wishes to do good instead of evil. Miranda benefited greatly from education because she has a good character.

Prospero said to Caliban, “Hag-seed, go now! Fetch firewood, and be quick to obey — if you know what is good for you — when I have other tasks for you. Do you dare resist me, malicious thing? If you neglect or do unwillingly what I command you to do, I will torment you with cramps and with aches in the bones like those suffered by the old. I will make you roar so loudly that beasts shall tremble at your din.”

“Please, no,” Caliban said.

He thought, I must obey Prospero; his art is of such power that it could control my dam’s god, Setebos, and make a servant out of him.

“Slave, leave us now and gather firewood!” Prospero said.

Caliban exited.

In the form of a sea-nymph, Ariel now came toward Prospero and Miranda. Ariel was performing the task that Prospero had earlier given to the spirit: to lead Ferdinand, the son of the King of Naples, to Prospero and Miranda. Ariel was invisible to Ferdinand as Ariel sang and played music.

Ariel sang this song:

Come unto these yellow sands,

And then take hands:

When you have curtsied and kissed

The wild waves into silence,

Dance daintily here and there;

And, sweet spirits, the bass undersong bear.

Hark, hark!

This was followed by the spirits barking like dogs here and there.

Ariel sang, “The watch-dogs bark!

This was again followed by the spirits barking like dogs here and there.

Ariel sang again:

Hark, hark! I hear

The song of strutting chanticleer

Cry, Cock-a-doodle-do.”

Spirits sang — not all at the same time — the sound of a crowing rooster.

Ferdinand heard the song and the music, but he could not see Ariel. He said, “Where is this music coming from? The air or the earth? I can no longer hear it. No doubt the music serves some god on the island. As I was sitting on a bank by the seashore, mourning again the shipwreck and the death of my father, Alonso, the King of Naples, I heard this music creep by me upon the water. With its sweet air, the music calmed both the water’s fury and my suffering. I followed the music, or rather it drew me here. But the music has gone. No, it begins again.”

Ariel sang this song:

Full five fathoms deep your father lies;

Of his bones is coral made;

Those are pearls that were his eyes:

All of him that does fade

Will suffer a sea-change

Into something rich and strange.

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell.”

This was followed by the spirits ding-donging — not all at the same time — like bells.

Ariel sang, “Listen! Now I hear them — ding-dong, bell.”

Ferdinand said, “This song commemorates my drowned father. This is no mortal business; this is no sound that the earth owns. I hear it coming now from above me.”

Prospero said to his daughter, Miranda, “Raise thefringed curtains — the eyelids — of your eyes and tell me what you see over there.”

Miranda replied, “What is it? A spirit? Lord, how it looks around! Believe me, sir, the spirit has assumed a handsome form. But it is a spirit.”

“No, lass,” Prospero said. “It eats and sleeps and has such senses as we have. This fine fellow whom you see was in the ship that wrecked, and, if he were not somewhat stained with grief — a spoiler of good looks — you might call him a good-looking man. He has been separated from his fellow travelers and is looking around for them.”

“I might call him divine, for I have never seen anything natural that looked so noble.”

Prospero whispered to Ariel, “My plan is working. Miranda is falling in love with Ferdinand. Ariel, fine spirit! I’ll free you within two days for helping me accomplish this.”

Ferdinand saw Miranda and said, “This must be the goddess of this island. Music plays for her!”

He said to Miranda, “Grant my request and tell me whether you dwell on this island. Give me good advice about how I may properly behave here. My most important request, which I make last, is — you are a wonder! — tell me whether you are human and whether you are married?”

“I am no wonder, sir,” Miranda said, “but I am certainly an unmarried and human maiden.”

“You speak my language!” Ferdinand said. “Heavens! I am the highest in rank of them who speak this language — if I were where this language is spoken.”

Prospero wanted Miranda and Ferdinand to fall in love, but part of his plan was to make Ferdinand’s life difficult for a while. He said to Ferdinand, “How can you be the highest in rank? What would you be if the King of Naples heard you?”

“I would still be a solitary man — exactly as I am now — who wonders at hearing you speak of Naples,” Ferdinand replied. “The King of Naples does hear me, and because he does hear me, I grieve. I myself am the King of Naples. My eyes have never stopped crying since I saw my father the King shipwrecked and drowned.”

“How awful!” Miranda said.

“Yes, it is,” Ferdinand said. “I saw my father and all his Lords die. Two of those who died were the Duke of Milan and his splendid son.”

Prospero whispered to Ariel, “The rightful Duke of Milan — me — and his more splendid daughter could challenge that assertion if now was the right time to do so. Soon enough, Ferdinand will find out that his father and everyone else on the ship survived and are in good health. But right now something important is happening. Ferdinand and Miranda have exchanged glances and fallen in love at first sight. Exquisite Ariel, I’ll set you free because of this.”

Prospero said to Ferdinand, “A word, good sir; I fear you have done yourself some wrong. You have said something about yourself that is not true.”

Miranda thought, Why is my father speaking so rudely? This is the third man whom I have ever seen; the other two are my father and Caliban. This is the first man whom I ever fell in love with and sighed for. May pity for me move my father to like this man.

Ferdinand said to Miranda, “If you are an unmarried virgin who is not in love with someone else, I will make you the Queen of Naples.”

“Just a minute, sir!” Prospero said. “I have more to say to you.”

Prospero thought, They are both in each other’s power —they are in love — but I must interrupt this too-swift falling in love. A prize too easily won is not properly valued.

Prospero said to Ferdinand, “One thing more. You must hear what I have to say to you. You have usurped a title that does not belong to you — you are not the King of Naples. Indeed, you came to this island to be a spy and steal it away from me, its rightful ruler.”

“No, I swear that that is not true!” Ferdinand said.

Miranda said to Ferdinand, “A man as handsome as you is a temple in which nothing evil can dwell. If Satan were as handsome as you, goodness would strive to dwell within him. According to Renaissance Neo-Platonic philosophers, beauty of spirit and beauty of form are inseparable.”

“Follow me,” Prospero said to Ferdinand.

To Miranda, Prospero said, “Don’t try to defend him — he’s a traitor.”

He said to Ferdinand, “Come with me. I will chain your neck and feet together. You will drink seawater, and your food will be inedible fresh-brook mussels, withered roots, and the caps of acorns. Follow me.”

“No,” Ferdinand said. “I will resist such treatment until my enemy has more power and strength than I do.”

He drew his sword, but Prospero used his magic to paralyze him and keep him from moving.

Miranda said, “Dear father, don’t judge him so hastily. He is a gentleman of noble birth whom you ought not to fear.”

“What?” Prospero said. “Will my foot — something that is beneath me — teach my head? Should I take advice from my own very young daughter?”

He said to Ferdinand, “Put your sword away, traitor. You make a show of courage, but you dare not strike me because you have a guilty conscience. Come out of your fencing posture because I can use my wand to easily disarm you and make your weapon drop.”

Ferdinand dropped his sword.

Miranda grabbed her father’s cloak and said, “Please, father, I beg you not to harm him.”

“Get away from me, Miranda! Let go of my clothing!”

“Sir, have pity on him. I guarantee that he will not cause trouble.”

“Silence! One word more shall make me reprimand you and maybe even hate you. What! You want to defend an imposter! Be quiet! Do you think that no more men like him exist because you have seen only him and Caliban? Foolish girl! Compared to most men, this man is a Caliban. Compared to this man, most men are angels.”

“My love, then, is very humble,” Miranda said. “I have no desire to see a better-looking man.”

Prospero said to Ferdinand, “Come on; obey me. Your muscles are once more in their infancy and have no strength. You can move only weakly.”

“You speak truly,” Ferdinand replied. “My strength is gone, and it is as if I were attempting to move in a dream. Still, the death of my father, this weakness that I feel, the shipwreck of all my friends, and the threats of this magician who has taken me prisoner would all be light burdens to me if only once a day I could see this maiden from my prison. Let free men make use of all the rest of the Earth. As long as I can see this maiden once a day, a prison is room enough for me.”

Prospero thought, He is definitely in love with my daughter. My plan is working.

To Ferdinand, he said, “Come with me.”

To Ariel, he said, “You have done well, fine spirit!”

To Ferdinand, he said, “Follow me.”

To Ariel, he said, “Listen as I tell you something else I need you to do for me.”

Prospero spoke quietly to Ariel while Miranda spoke to Ferdinand.

Miranda said to Ferdinand, “Don’t worry. My father has a better nature, sir, than he appears to have by his speech now. What he said is uncharacteristic of him.”

Prospero said to Ariel, “You shall be as free as the mountain winds, but first do exactly what I tell you to do.”

“I will obey every syllable,” Ariel replied.

Prospero said to Ferdinand, “Come now and follow me.”

He said to Miranda, “Don’t try to defend him.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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