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Plot Summary

A story of shipwreck and magic, THE TEMPEST begins on a ship caught in a violent storm. On a nearby island, the exiled Duke of Milan, Prospero, tells his daughter, Miranda, that he has caused the storm with his magical powers. Prospero had been banished twelve years earlier. Prospero and Miranda are served by a spirit named Ariel and by Caliban, son of the island’s previous inhabitant, the witch Sycorax.


On the island, castaways from the wreck begin to appear. First is Ferdinand, who immediately falls in love with Miranda. Prospero secretly approves of their love, but tests the pair by enslaving Ferdinand. After secretly watching Miranda and Ferdinand exchange vows, Prospero releases Ferdinand and consents to their marriage.

Other castaways who appear are Trinculo and Stephano, who join forces with Caliban to kill Prospero and take over the island.


At Prospero’s command, Ariel tricks Trinculo and Stephano by using their own vanity and greed to trap them. Ferdinand and Miranda get engaged in a magical ceremony, Prospero’s last act of illusion and magic. As Prospero, Ferdinand and Miranda prepare to leave the island, Prospero, who has given up his magic, sets Ariel free, hands the island back to Caliban and bids farewell to the island and the audience.

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