Stills of The Tempest |
Clive Francis as Prospero.
(from public domain Wikipedia)
The sorcerer Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, and his daughter, Miranda, have been stranded for twelve years on an island, after Prospero's jealous brother Antonio—helped by Alonso, the King of Naples—deposed him and set him adrift with the three-year-old Miranda. Possessed of magic powers due to his great learning and prodigious library, Prospero is reluctantly served by a spirit, Ariel whom he had rescued from imprisonment in a tree. Ariel was trapped therein by the African witch Sycorax, who had been exiled to the island years before and died prior to Prospero's arrival. The witch's son Caliban, a deformed monster and the only non-spiritual inhabitant before the arrival of Prospero, was initially adopted and raised by the Milanese sorcerer, but for various reasons at the opening of the play is little more than a slave.
The play opens as Prospero, having divined that his brother, Antonio, is on a ship passing close by the island, has raised a storm (the tempest of the title) which causes the ship to run aground. Also on the ship are Antonio's friend and fellow conspirator, King Alonso, Alonso's brother Sebastian, Alonso's royal advisor Gonzalo, and Alonso's son, Ferdinand. Prospero, by his spells, contrives to separate the survivors of the wreck into several groups.
Three plots then alternate through the play, until the end when all live happily ever after and Prospero "breaks his staff and lays aside his books."
This page last updated February 25, 2007