Reading Guide for The Tempest Acts III and IV

As you read Act III Scene 1, consider the parallel Shakespeare is making between love and slavery. Does love truly have the power to enslave a person? Yes
Act III Scene 1 begins with Ferdinand doing what work? Who normally does this work for Prospero? What do you think the audience would have thought of a prince doing such work? Act III, scene 1 begins with Ferdinand carrying a log, which is usually the work of Prospero’s slave, Caliban. Carrying wood is not the work of a prince, but Ferdinand is doing it for love
What does Ferdinand mean when he says he “would no more endure This wooden slavery than to suffer the flesh-fly blow my mouth” (40)? Notice the word play in calling his work “wooden slavery.” Ferdinand is saying that normally he would be as likely to carry logs and he would be to let flies breed in his mouth
Why does Miranda weep when Ferdinand says he loves her? Miranda weeps when Ferdinand says that he loves her because she feels so unworthy of his love
What does Miranda mean when she says, “To be your fellow You may deny me, but I’ll be your servant Whether you will or no” (41)? Miranda asks Ferdinand to marry her, which he can deny if he wants but she will forever be his servant anyways
When Ferdinand says he will be her husband “with a heart as willing As bondage ere of freedom,” what does the note say he means? Ferdinand is saying that he wants to marry her more than a slave wants to be free
In Act III Scene 2, we see Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban continuing their drunken hijinks. What does Caliban want Stephano to do to Prospero? What does Caliban say Stephano must “seize” first in order to do it? What does Caliban say Stephano will have if he does it? How does this relate to Caliban’s earlier attempted crime? -Caliban wants Stephano to kill Prospero-Stephano must seize Prospero’s books first because he can do his magic without them-Caliban says if Stephano murders Prospero he can have all of his possessions including his beautiful daughter, Miranda-This scene is parallel to the scene with Antonio and Sebastian
What position does Stephano say he will occupy on the island? Notice how this scene continues the parody of the lower classes imitating their superiors. Stephano says that him and Miranda will become king and queen of the island
In Act III Scene 3, what do “strange shapes” set before Alonso, Antonio, Sebastian, and the others? Given the fact that they were shipwrecked this morning and seem not to have had anything to eat or drink, how do you think this appears to them? Spirits enter the scene carrying a table filled with food and drink, which appears to be a miracle
Before the men can eat, in what form does Ariel appear before them on the table? What does the note say this figure represents? Ariel appears before the table in the form of a harpie, which is representative of divine intervention or death
What does Ariel tell them is her “business” to them? What does she make them remember? What does she say “The powers” have done in return to Alonso? Ariel tells them that it is her business to tell them that nature has not forgot about what they did to Prospero and his daughter; nature has killed Ferdinand to punish Alonso for his involvement in Antonio’s plan
What does Ariel tell the men will now happen to them? What must they do to avoid this punishment? Hint–read the notes for clarification of this difficult speech! Ariel tells the men that they will die from dehydration and starvation, unless they feel truly sorry for what they did (repentance)
What does Alonso say is “monstrous”? What was Alonso’s “trespass,” and what does he think has happened as a result of his trespass? Alonso says that Ariel speaking to him through the clouds and the winds is “monstrous”. Alonso’s trespasses are the crimes he committed against Prospero and his punishment is the death of his son
At the start of Act IV Scene 1, what does Prospero give to Ferdinand? Prospero gives his daughter, Miranda, to Ferdinand to be his wife
What does Prospero warn will happen if Ferdinand and Miranda have sex before marriage? Prospero says that if they have sex before marriage it will ruin their marriage and they will grow to hate one another
Prospero commands Ariel to bring in other spirits to put on a performance for Miranda and Ferdinand. What do the spirits appear to be? How is this a sign of the Renaissance? The spirits appear to be the Roman goddesses of love and marriage
As you read this scene, consider that we in the audience are now watching actors on a stage pretending to be the characters Miranda and Ferdinand, and they are pretending to be the audience for a performance of Roman goddesses who are being played by spirits. Does this make us consider that we are in some sense acting in our own lives? The lines between acting and living are being brought to our attention by Shakespeare in this scene, which is a sort of play-within-a-play.
When he remembers that Caliban and Stephano are coming to murder him, Prospero ends the performance. Read his speech on page 57 carefully. What does he mean when he says, “the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded Leave not a rack behind” (57)? Will the earth eventually “dissolve”? If it will, what does that mean for us and our physical accomplishments? Prospero is explaining to Ferdinand that eventually everything physical will become dust, which reiterates the idea that we should focus on the relationships that we build while we are alive