Back to: Jammu and Kashmir Board Class 9th English Guide and Notes
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“The tempest” written by William Shakespeare deals with three major characters- a wise old man,Prospero, his daughter Miranda and his spirit servant, Ariel. The story deals with the major theme of mercy as one can find in the story that despite the merciless foes of Prospero, he spare them at the end. He also shows mercy by making good on his promise to release Ariel.
Twelve-years ago, Prospero and Miranda comes to this island, when Miranda was a mere baby. They had a servant named, Caliban. Prospero had another servant, a spirit named Ariel, whom he commanded by means of his magic. At Prospero’s command, he would raise storms in the sea or make thunder in the air. One day Miranda looked out and saw a ship struggling in the midst of the storm and requested her father if he could stop the calamity. Prospero on this informed her that all he had done is only for her and ensured that not a single person would die.
Prospero informed Miranda that twelve years ago he was a Duke of Milan. His chief aim in life was knowledge. He left all the state affairs on his brother, Antonio who later
grew greedy for power and possessions. He even plotted against him. One dark night their soldiers took Prospero and Miranda out of the palace and put them into an old-damaged ship to die at sea. But a kind old lord named Gonzalo secretly stored the ship with fresh water, food and clothes, and his precious books, which he valued more than his dukedom.
The secret plan
Prospero then touched Miranda gently with his magic wand, and she fell asleep. Here Ariel appeared and informed Prospero that he had completed his secret task by attacking he ship with storm, fire and thunder, till the sailors gave up in despair. Not a single person in the ship kept his head. The King’s son, Ferdinand, was sitting sadly.
Remaining invisible, Ariel appeared infront of Ferdinand, sang a beautiful song and led him to the place of Prospero and Miranda.
Seeing Miranda, Ferdinand thought that she was the goddess of this island of wonders. Prospero realised that Ferdinand had fallen in love with his daughter so in order to test his love, Prospero pretended to think that the young man was a spy.Prospero thus threatened him and took him to the prison.
Ferdinand tried to resist, and drew his sword; but waving his wand, Prospero fixed him to the spot by the power of his magic and set him the task of piling up heavy logs. Miranda stole out of her room to see him at work, and her presence made his labour seem light to him. Miranda was extremely sympathetic for him and even tried to help him.
Ferdinand managed to tell Miranda how he loved her better than anyone else he had ever seen. As for Miranda, she could not imagine a person whom she could love more. Then, Prospero informed that these tasks were a test of his love and as a reward he gave him his daughter.
In the meantime the King of Naples, Antonio, Gonzalo and others were wandering about on the island. Tired out and hungry, they sat down to rest. Ariel put inviting food before them, but when they tried to eat it, it disappeared suddenly. Ariel appeared to them with thunder and lightening. While they stood amazed at the sight, he reminded Antonio and the King of their evil deeds that how cruelly they treated Prospero and his innocent child. It was a terrible crime. Then Ariel disappeared in thunder and lightening leaving them almost mad with fear and their sense of guilt.
Prospero spared his enemies after seeing their penance and asked Ariel to led them to the place where he was. On seeing Prospero, they could hardly believe their eyes. The King agreed to restore the dukedom to Prospero, and Prospero, on his part, forgave the king all that was past. The King told Prospero how he had lost Ferdinand in the wreck to which Prospero sympathised and informed that even he lost his daughter too in the tempest. (because he had lost his daughter to Ferdinand)
Prospero took the party into his cave and showed them Ferdinand and Miranda, who were happily playing chess.On seeing so many people,Miranda when she saw so many people together was extremely happy. Gonzalo, the kind old man, who had helped Prospero, wept for joy to see this scene of reconciliation. Prospero broke his magic wand and buried his books of magic because he had no further use for them. He set Ariel free as he had promised.