Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

The Tempest: Scene Indexes

Quick Scene Index:

Act 1, Scene 1

Act 1, Scene 2

Act 2, Scene 1

Act 2, Scene 2

Act 3, Scene 1

Act 3, Scene 2

Act 3, Scene 3

Act 4, Scene 1

Act 5, Scene 1


Scene Index with Summaries:

(1.1.1) A tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard. Enter a SHIP-MASTER and a BOATSWAIN.
    In a raging storm, the Ship-Master and the Boatswain try to keep their ship off the rocks while fending off interference from their noble passengers, Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, and Gonzalo.
(1.2.1) Enter PROSPERO and MIRANDA.
    Miranda pities those on the ship, but her father Prospero tells her that there's no harm done, and then tells her the story of how the two of them came to be on their island: twelve years before, his brother Antonio, with the aid of Alonso, king of Naples, stole the Dukedom of Milan from Prospero—who was "rapt in secret studies"—and put Prospero and Miranda out to sea in a boat which drifted to the island. They survived only because Gonzalo provided them with food and water. Now a storm has brought a ship to their island carrying those who betrayed Prospero. Prospero puts on his magic robes and charms Miranda to sleep.
St. Elmo's fire on a ship at sea
(1.2.187) Enter ARIEL.
    Prospero calls for "my Ariel" and the spirit appears, offering to do anything Prospero asks, "be't to fly, / To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride / On the curl'd clouds." Prospero asks if Ariel has performed the task he has given him. Ariel says that he has, that he has created a spectacular storm of fire. (What Ariel describes is known as "St. Elmo's fire," which is a natural phenomenon, though in Shakespeare's time it was thought to be magical.)
    Prospero continues to question Ariel, and asks how those on the ship reacted to the storm. Ariel reports that "Not a soul / But felt a fever of the mad and play'd / Some tricks of desperation." All of the passengers jumped ship and swam for it. By his magic, Ariel brought them all safely to shore, with not a blemish on their clothes. As for the sailors, they were brought safely to harbor, and then charmed to sleep.
    Prospero praises Ariel for following instructions, then tells him that there is more work to be done. At this, Ariel complains that Prospero promised him his liberty. Prospero responds by telling Ariel that the term of his servitude is not yet up and reminds him of all that he has done for him.
    As Prospero speaks we learn the back-story of Ariel. When the "foul witch Sycorax" was banished to the uninhabited island, Ariel was her servant. On the island, because Ariel was "a spirit too delicate / To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands," Sycorax imprisoned Ariel within a "cloven pine," then died, leaving Ariel to howl for twelve years, with only Caliban, the inhuman son of Sycorax, for company.
Prospero and Ariel
William Hamilton

    Finally Prospero wrings out of Ariel an acknowledgement of his debt of gratitude. Prospero then issues a threat and a promise to Ariel. If Ariel complains any more, Prospero will imprison him within an oak, but if Ariel does everything asked of him "gently" Prospero will grant him freedom within two days. (As it turns out, Prospero gives Ariel his freedom much sooner, four hours later, at the end of the play.)
    Ariel promises to be good, and Prospero gives further instructions: he is make himself "like a nymph o' the sea" and return, invisible to all but Prospero.
(1.2.305) Exit Ariel.
    Prospero awakens Miranda from her sleep and tells her they must visit the slave Caliban. Prospero calls for Caliban to come out of his cave. Caliban yells back that there's already enough fire wood. As Prospero waits for Caliban, Ariel enters, "like a water-nymph" and receives whispered instructions from Prospero. Ariel promises "it shall be done," and flies away.
(1.2.187) Enter CALIBAN.
    Prospero again calls for Caliban, "Thou poisonous slave," and Caliban appears, cursing both Prospero and Miranda. In response, Prospero promises that Caliban will be punished with "cramps" and "pinches."
Miranda, Prospero, Ariel, and Caliban
Henry Fuseli
To this, Caliban makes reply which gives us the back-story of his relationship with Prospero. According to Caliban, Prospero stole the island from him. It was Caliban's, "by Sycorax my mother," but Prospero betrayed him. When Prospero arrived at the island, Caliban says, "Thou strokedst me and madest much of me, wouldst . . . teach me how / To name the bigger light, and how the less, / That burn by day and night." In other words, Prospero showed apparent affection for Caliban and taught him the names of the sun and moon. In return, Caliban taught Prospero how to survive on the island, showed him "the fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile," but Caliban curses himself for doing so, because before Prospero came Caliban was, in his own words, "mine own king," and now Prospero has confined him "In this hard rock" and keeps him away from the rest of the island.
    Prospero's side of the story is that he treated Caliban with humane kindness, teaching him how to speak, until Caliban tried to rape Miranda. Caliban answers with more defiance, saying "O ho, O ho! would't had been done!" But when Prospero orders Caliban to fetch more firewood, Caliban must obey, because he knows that Prospero's magic is strong enough to control a devil.
(1.2.375) Exit CALIBAN. Enter FERDINAND; and ARIEL, invisible, playing and singing.
Ariel and Ferdinand
James Henry Nixon

    Ariel sings Ferdinand ashore with an invitation to dance and a magical evocation of the drowning of his father.
    When Miranda sees Ferdinand, she believes him to be a beautiful spirit; when Ferdinand sees Miranda, he believes her to be a goddess. They are instantly in love, and Ferdinand proposes marriage, which is Prospero's plan, but he tells himself (and us) that "this swift business / I must uneasy make, lest too light winning / Make the prize light." Therefore Prospero accuses Ferdinand of being a traitor who intends to take control of the island from him, and tells him that he is now a prisoner. Ferdinand tries to resist, and draws his sword, but Prospero charms the sword from his hand. Miranda pleads for Ferdinand, but Prospero tells her that she only thinks that he's good and beautiful because she has seen no other man except Caliban.
    Prospero leads away Ferdinand, who tells himself that he must obey, because Prospero's charms have made him weak and because the prospect of seeing Miranda is liberty enough for him.
    As Ferdinand is being led away, Miranda tells him that her father is "of a better nature, sir, / Than he appears by speech," and Prospero thanks Ariel and promises the spirit freedom as long as Ariel performs his other tasks as well as he as performed this one.
    Alonso, King of Naples, believing that his son has drowned and finding himself on a strange island he knows not where, is deeply depressed. Gonzalo tries to talk him into a better frame of mind. (Gonzalo is the counselor to Prospero who years before saved the lives of Prospero and Miranda by providing them with food and water when Antonio, Prospero's brother, set them adrift in a leaky boat. Now Gonzalo seems to be a counselor to Alonso.)
Alonso, Gonzalo, Antonio, and Sebastian
Sir John Gilbert

    As Gonzalo talks, Antonio and Sebastian, Alonso's brother, make fun of Gonzalo and everything he says. When Gonzalo says the grass in green, they say it is brown, and when Gonzalo says that their clothes are as fresh as new, they scoff, though Gonzalo is right. In the previous scene, Ariel reported to Prospero that he had brought everyone ashore safely, and "On their sustaining garments not a blemish, / But fresher than before" (1.2.218-219).
    Alonso, however, is not in a mood to see the bright side of anything. He is sure that his son is drowned, and that he will never see his daughter Claribel again. (From various speeches in this scene we learn that everyone had accompanied Alonso from Naples to Tunis, on the north coast of Africa, for the wedding of Claribel to the King of Tunis. On the return trip they were caught in the storm which blew them to Prospero's island.)
    Francisco, another member of the party, says he saw Ferdinand swimming strongly toward the shore, but Alonso still believes his son must be lost. Then Sebastian, Alonso's brother, turns nasty. He blames Alonso for all their troubles, saying that Alonso insisted, against good advice, on marrying his daughter to an African, even though she loathed the idea.
    Gonzalo rebukes Sebastian for his lack of feeling, then turns to a more cheerful topic: what a paradise the island could be. Gonzalo says that if he were to plant a colony on the island, there would be no poverty, no crime, no war, no government, and no need for work, because "All things in common nature should produce / Without sweat or endeavour." Alonso responds to this utopian dream by asking Gonzalo to be quiet, and Antonio and Sebastian continue to scoff.
(2.1.185) Enter ARIEL, [invisible], playing solemn music.
    Ariel's music quickly charms all but Antonio and Sebastian to sleep. Ariel leaves, and Antonio begins the process of persuading Sebastian to kill his brother so that he, Sebastian, will become King of Naples. Antonio argues that Ferdinand is surely drowned, and that Claribel, the next heir, is too far away to make an effective claim. When Sebastian raises the question of conscience, Antonio points out that he took Prospero's dukedom, and isn't at all bothered by a bad conscience.
    Antonio soon converts Sebastian to his way of thinking, and they draw their swords to murder Alonso and Sebastian Gonzalo.
(2.1.287) Enter ARIEL [invisible], with music and song.
    Ariel says that Prospero has foreseen the present danger, and so he sings in Gonzalo's ear, wakens him, and Gonzalo awakens Alonso, who is startled at the sight of Antonio and Sebastian with their swords drawn.
    To cover their intention to murder Alonso, the two villains claim that their swords were drawn because they heard a terrible noise, like "a whole herd of lions." Gonzalo, always talkative, says that he heard a strange sound too, a "humming," and so Alonso and Gonzalo don't suspect that they were about to be murdered. Then Alonso leads everyone away to search for his son, while Ariel, still unseen, says that he will go and tell Prospero of everything that has happened.
(2.2.1) Enter CALIBAN with a burden of wood. A noise of thunder heard.
    Caliban is carrying a load of firewood and cursing Prospero. He complains that the spirits at Prospero's command—appearing in the forms of apes, hedgehogs, and adders—are driving him crazy.
(2.2.14) Enter TRINCULO.
Trinculo, Spirits, and Caliban

    Seeing Trinculo, Caliban believes him to be another spirit come to punish him and throws himself on the ground, hoping he won't be noticed. Trinculo, a foolish servant who was on the ship with Alonso, is afraid that another storm is coming. Looking about for a place to hide, he discovers Caliban, whom he at first believes to be a fish, because he has "a very ancient and fish-like smell." Trinculo investigates a little and decides that Caliban must be an islander who has been struck by thunderbolt. Then he hears thunder and hides under Caliban's cloak.
(2.2.42) Enter STEPHANO, singing, [a bottle in his hand].
    Stephano, drunk and singing a rowdy song, stumbles upon a wonder—a cloak with four legs protruding from it. He decides it must be a four-legged monster, sick with the ague. On his part, Caliban is sure that Stephano must be another of Prospero's spirits, come to torment him.
    Stephano tells himself that if he can keep the strange monster alive, it will be a valuable prize, therefore he determines to give it a drink. As he is giving it (Caliban) a drink, the other head (Trinculo) of the monster calls his name, so Stephano concludes that the monster must be a devil.
    After more comic confusion, Caliban, under the influence of Stephano's wine, regards Stephano as some kind of great god. He offers to be Stephano's slave, kiss his foot, and serve him with wood, water, and food. Though Trinculo scoffs, Stephano grandly consents to be king of the island. Caliban is delighted. He leads the way, singing a drunken song about how he is free because he has a new master.
Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban
Sir John Gilbert
(3.1.1) Enter FERDINAND, bearing a log.
    Ferdinand has the task of piling up "some thousands" of logs, but reflects that the presence of Miranda makes the task easy, because she "quickens what's dead / And makes my labors pleasures."
(3.1.15) Enter MIRANDA; and PROSPERO [at a distance, unseen].
Miranda and Ferdinand
Walter Crane

    Miranda rushes in, full of sympathy for Ferdinand. She pleads with him to set down his log and rest. He answers that he can't stop his work because it will be dark before he has completed his assigned task. Miranda replies with an offer to do his work while he rests; she even asks for the log that he is carrying at the moment. Ferdinand says that he would rather break his back than have Miranda undergo the "dishonour" of doing his work while he sits "lazy by."
    Unseen and unheard by Ferdinand and Miranda, Prospero comments, "Poor worm, thou art infected!" He is affectionately mocking his daughter's concern for Ferdinand, and it is apparent that he approves of the budding love between the young people.
    Ferdinand asks Miranda her name and she blurts it out, even though her father has told her not to tell. Upon hearing her name, "Miranda," Ferdinand makes an eloquent speech about how she deserves the name because she is truly admirable. Miranda replies with a speech in which she declares that she cannot imagine anyone she would like better than Ferdinand. After this, in a rapture of wonder, both declare their love for each other and engage themselves to each other.
(3.1.92) Exeunt [FERDINAND and MIRANDA severally].
    Miranda leaves, promising to return in a half-hour; Ferdinand carries off his log; and Prospero, rejoicing at their happiness, says that he will go study, because "For yet ere supper-time must I perform / Much business appertaining." Later (Act 4, Scene 1), we see the "business appertaining"; it is a display of spirits in the shape of goddesses, nymphs and reapers, singing and dancing in celebration of the union of Ferdinand and Miranda.
    Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban are all drinking. Stephano and Trinculo are drunk and make jokes about being drunk, but Caliban seems to have a plan in motion. He offers to lick Stephano's shoe, but says of Trinculo, "I'll not serve him; he's not valiant." Trinculo takes offense and calls Caliban a "deboshed fish," but Caliban continues to play up to Stephano and gets him to "hearken once again to the suit I made to thee," that is, consider an urgent request that he has made before.
(3.2.42) Enter ARIEL, invisible.
Ariel, Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban
H.C. Selous

    Upon Stephano's command, Caliban kneels as though to a king. At the same time, Ariel appears and observes everything. Caliban says that Prospero is a tyrant who has cheated him out of the island, and he urges Stephano to kill Prospero and become the new king of the island.
    As Caliban is speaking, Ariel intervenes from time to time, saying "thou liest." Because Ariel is invisible, Stephano and Caliban think that it's Trinculo who is speaking, and after a while Stephano beats him.
    After this by-play is over, Caliban goes into detail about just when and where Prospero can be killed, and gives Stephano one more reason to do the deed: Stephano can take the beautiful Miranda as his queen. This does it for Stephano, and he proudly announces, "Monster, I will kill this man."
    At Stephano's promise, Caliban is happy, and proposes that they all sing a song that Stephano has taught him. Stephano starts to sing, but Caliban complains, "That's not the tune," and suddenly they hear the tune.
(3.2.125) Ariel plays the tune on a tabour and pipe.
     Hearing "the tune of our catch, played by the picture of Nobody," Trinculo is frightened, and Stephano is, too, but he covers it by proclaiming that he will fight whoever it is that is playing the music. At this, Caliban explains that "the isle is full of noises, / Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not." Stephano is reassured, and even glad that he is about to get a kingdom in which he can have his music for nothing. Caliban reminds him that he must first kill Prospero, but Stephano and Trinculo are enchanted by Ariel's music, and so Ariel leads all three away.
    Both Alonso and Gonzalo are bone-weary and discouraged. Alonso is now convinced that his son is drowned.
    Antonio and Sebastian are glad that the two old men are exhausted and downhearted; it leads them to believe that they will soon have another chance to murder them, so that Sebastian can become king of Naples.
(3.3.18) Solemn and strange music; and PROSPERO on the top, invisible. Enter several strange SHAPES, bringing in a banket; and dance about it with gentle actions of salutations; and inviting the King, etc., to eat, they depart.
    As the sweet music plays and Prospero, unseen, looks on, spirits carry in a table loaded with food and mutely invite Alonso and all the rest to eat. All of the company are struck into a state of wonder, but after the spirits have departed, leaving the banquet behind, they approach the table.
(3.3.53) Thunder and lightning. Enter ARIEL, like a harpy, claps his wings upon the table, and with a quaint device the banquet vanishes.
    After Ariel has made the food disappear in a storm of thunder and lightning, he delivers a stern warning to Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian. Calling them "three men of sin," he announces that the sea has cast them up on this deserted island in retribution for the wrong done to Prospero. The men try to draw their swords, but Ariel magically makes the swords too heavy to hold, and warns them that they can be saved from perdition only by "heart-sorrow / And a clear life ensuing."
(3.3.83) [Ariel] vanishes in thunder; then, to soft music, enter the SHAPES again, and dance, with mocks and mows, and carrying out the table.
    Prospero praises Ariel's performance and says that while Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian are "knit up / In their distractions" he will visit Ferdinand and Miranda.
(3.3.102) Exit [Prospero].
    Alonso feels a deep sense of remorse, and goes off to find his son. He says that he will "seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded / And with him there lie mudded." In contrast, Sebastian and Antonio are defiant; they leave to fight the "fiends." Gonzalo comments, "All three of them are desperate," and he and the rest follow the noblemen, hoping to keep them from harm.
    Prospero gives Miranda's hand in marriage to Ferdinand. He praises his daughter as a "rich gift" and warns Ferdinand that if he should "break her virgin-knot" before the marriage ceremony they will never have a happy marriage. Ferdinand promises that his honor will never be melted by lust. Hearing this, Prospero tells Ferdinand to sit and talk with his bride-to-be, then calls for Ariel.
(4.1.34) Enter ARIEL.
    Prospero praises Ariel for his work and gives the spirit another job: he is to bring the other spirits to present a magic show for Ferdinand and Miranda. Ariel promises to do it immediately, and asks Prospero, "Do you love me, master?" Prospero says he loves Ariel "dearly," and tells him to return only at his call. Then, after warning Ferdinand once again to be "abstemious," he calls for Ariel, bids Ferdinand and Miranda be silent, and begins the show.
(4.1.60) Soft music. Enter IRIS.
    With lovely poetry, evoking the richness of the natural world, Iris, goddess of the rainbow and messenger of Juno, calls to Ceres, goddess of abundance, announcing that Juno has summoned her to come to "this grass-plot." As Juno descends from the sky, Ceres enters and asks why she has been summoned. Iris replies that they have "A contract of true love to celebrate."

Iris, Goddess of the Rainbow, portrayed on an ancient Greek vase.

Ceres, Goddess of Abundance

    Ceres asks if Venus or Cupid, whom she abhors, are coming with Juno. Iris replies that both Venus and Cupid have been sent away, making it clear that the "true love" to be celebrated is married love, not infatuation or lust.
    Juno approaches and joins Ceres in singing a song of blessing on Ferdinand and Miranda. The song promises "Honour, riches, marriage-blessing, . . .  Earth's increase, foison plenty / Barns and garners never empty."
    Ferdinand exclaims that this is a "majestic vision" and asks Prospero if the goddesses are "spirits." Prospero answers that they are indeed spirits, which he has summoned to portray his imaginative vision. Ferdinand says that such a wife and father-in-law "Makes this place Paradise," but Prospero enjoins him to be silent, because the goddesses have something more to show.
    In the name of Juno, Iris calls forth Naiads, nymphs of wandering brooks, to "help to celebrate / A contract of true love." The nymphs enter, and then Iris calls forth "You sunburnt sicklemen," human reapers, to join with the nymphs in a country dance.
(4.1.139) Enter certain REAPERS, properly habited: they join with the Nymphs in a graceful dance, towards the end whereof Prospero starts suddenly, and speaks; after which, to a strange, hollow, and confused noise, they heavily vanish.
    The dance, a graceful vision of the union of the spirit and body, dissolves when Prospero suddenly remembers that Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban are about to come to murder him. Prospero dismisses all of the spirits and struggles to control his anger.
    Ferdinand and Miranda wonder at Prospero's passion. Prospero recognizes that his anger has dismayed Ferdinand and delivers a speech of reassurance which contains some of the most famous lines of the play. He tells Ferdinand that the vision has melted away, and, like the vision, all the glories of the world and "the great globe itself" will dissolve, because "We are such stuff / As dreams are made on, and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep." Thus, while foretelling the end of the world, Prospero portrays the world as the imaginative vision of a another magician, perhaps a divine one.
    Prospero then asks Ferdinand and Miranda to retire into his cell while he walks to calm down. As Ferdinand and Miranda are leaving, Prospero calls for Ariel.
(4.1.165) Enter Ariel.
    Prospero tells Ariel that they must prepare to deal with Caliban, and asks where Ariel left him and the other two rascals. Ariel reports that he led them, while they were still drunk, into "the filthy-mantled pool beyond your cell."
    Prospero praises Ariel and gives him another task, to bring some flashy clothing and hang it on a line near Prospero's cell. Ariel immediately flies away, and Prospero reflects that Caliban is "A devil, a born devil, on whose nature / Nurture can never stick." In a moment, Ariel returns with the "glistering apparel" and hangs it on a line.
(4.1.194) Enter CALIBAN, STEPHANO, and TRINCULO, all wet.
    Caliban is intent on the murder of Prospero, and advises Stephano and Trinculo to be very quiet, because they are now approaching Prospero's cell. However, Stephano and Trinculo, still drunk, have no ears for Caliban's advice; they are outraged that music of the invisible "fairy" has lead them into a stinking pond. They blame Caliban, and ignore him when he tries to keep their minds focused on the murder of Prospero. Stephano declares that he is determined to go back to the pond and recover his lost bottle of liquor, but Caliban manages to stop him by addressing him as "my king," pointing out the mouth of Prospero's cell, and promising that once he murders Prospero, he will be king of the island forever, and that he, Caliban, will be "For aye thy foot-licker."
    Just as Caliban's words begin to penetrate Stephano's mind, Trinculo sees the gaudy clothes and shouts, "O king Stephano! O peer! O worthy Stephano! look what a wardrobe here is for thee!" At this, both Stephano and Trinculo start snatching clothes and throwing them to Caliban to carry for them. Caliban is disgusted by their foolishness, but they have forgotten about anything but the fancy clothes.
Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo Pursued by Spirits as Hounds
Sir John Gilbert
(4.1.255) A noise of hunters heard. Enter divers SPIRITS, in shape of dogs and hounds, hunting them about; Prospero and Ariel setting them on.
    After Prospero's spirits chase away the three villains, Prospero tells Ariel to further punish them with cramps, convulsions, and pinches. Then he informs Ariel that he will soon be free, after a little more service.
(5.1.1) Enter PROSPERO in his magic robes, and ARIEL.
    Prospero says that now his grand plan is about to be accomplished, and asks Ariel about Alonso and his followers. Ariel replies that he has done just as Prospero has asked, charmed Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian into a state of immobility. The rest are "mourning over them, / Brimful of sorrow and dismay." Gonzalo weeps for pity, and even Ariel believes that the three noblemen deserve pity. Upon hearing this, Prospero declares that "with my nobler reason 'gainst my fury / Do I take part," and sends Ariel to lift the charge and bring Alonso and the rest to him.
(5.1.33) Exit [ARIEL].
    Prospero, speaking to all of the invisible spirits that he has magically commanded, declares that his last request is some music while he lifts the charm from the three noblemen. After that, he will break his magic staff, and drown his books in the sea.
(5.1.58) Here enters ARIEL before; then ALONSO, with a frantic gesture, attended by GONZALO; SEBASTIAN and ANTONIO in like manner, attended by ADRIAN and FRANCISCO. They all enter the circle which Prospero had made, and there stand charmed; which PROSPERO observing, speaks.
    Prospero speaks of the good done for him by Gonzalo and the wrong done to him by Antonio and Alonso, then observes that they are still emerging from the charm and do not hear him. He has Ariel fetch his hat and rapier from his cell, then removes his magic robes, puts on the hat, straps on the rapier, and becomes the Duke of Milan, not a magician.
    Ariel sings merrily of his coming freedom, and Prospero gives him another chore: to bring the master and the boatswain of the ship to him. Exclaiming "I drink the air before me," Ariel is off.
(5.1.104) Exit [Ariel].
Ferdinand and Miranda Playing Chess

    Prospero welcomes Alonso and announces that he is Prospero, Duke of Milan. Alonso, now free of the charm, resigns all rights to Prospero's dukedom and begs Prospero's pardon.
    Prospero embraces Gonzalo and welcomes everyone, including Antonio and Sebastian, though he tells them (in a quick aside) that he could prove to Alonso that they are traitors. He also says to them that for now he will "tell no tales." This implied threat apparently works; Antonio and Sebastian don't say a word.
    Alonso asks how it is that they could have met Prospero on the island, where just three hours before he lost his son. Prospero responds by saying that he has just lost a child, too: his daughter. Alonso exclaims, "O heavens, that they were living both in Naples, / The king and queen there!" At this, Prospero announces that he has a wonder to show, and he brings Alonso to the entrance of his cell.
    Prospero reveals Ferdinand and Miranda, who are playing chess. To everyone but Prospero all is miraculous. Alonso has found his son who he thought was drowned; Ferdinand has found his father who he thought dead; Miranda sees a crowd of people and says, "How many goodly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, / That has such people in't!" Alonso asks Ferdinand who Miranda is, and finds, to his joy, that he now has a daughter, as well as a son.
(5.1.216) Enter ARIEL, with the MASTER and BOATSWAIN amazedly following.
    Gonzalo questions the Boatswain, who reports that the ship, which they had thought would be wrecked, is in excellent shape, and he, along with the rest of the crew, found themselves asleep on the ship when they heard strange noises, awoke, and were brought, as in a dream, to the presence of Prospero, Alonso, and the rest.
    Quietly, Prospero congratulates Ariel on his good work, again promises him his freedom, and sends him to bring Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo.
(5.1.256) Enter ARIEL, driving in CALIBAN, STEPHANO and TRINCULO, in their stolen apparel.
    Stephano and Trinculo are still drunk, and Caliban is afraid that Prospero will punish him. Sebastian and Antonio make jokes about Caliban, and Prospero explains to Alonso that Caliban, "this demi-devil," plotted with the other two to murder him, but no one is punished. Prospero merely commands Caliban to lead away the other two. Caliban seems to have changed his attitude towards Prospero; he says, "Ay, that I will; and I'll be wise hereafter / And seek for grace."
    After the three rascals are gone, Prospero tells Alonso what's next. Everyone will stay with Prospero for the night, and Prospero will tell his story. In the morning they'll leave for Naples, where the wedding of Ferdinand and Miranda will take place.
Ariel in Flight
After that Prospero will resume his rule over Milan. He promises Alonso "calm seas" and "auspicious gales," then says his last words to Ariel: "My Ariel, chick, / That is thy charge: then to the elements / Be free, and fare thou well!"
    Prospero asks the audience for applause and good will. He prays for their help, saying that he can return to Milan only if they applaud to show that they are pleased. If they are pleased, and willing to believe that Prospero will return to Milan and live happily, then it will happen.