For twelve years, Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, has been living on a remote, uninhabited Mediterranean Island with only his daughter, Miranda (a young girl who has grown up seeing no other human being but her father), Caliban (the son of the island’s former ruler, a witch named Sycorax), and Ariel (an “airy spirit” who has served as Prospero’s servant). Prospero has learned the magical arts through deep meditative study, and uses his supernatural powers to exert his authority and influence events. At the play’s beginning, he causes a tempest to overtake the surrounding waters, shipwrecking the enemies responsible for his exile. The boat’s passengers are scattered, and the state of the island is thrown into chaos as murder plots, drunken foolery, and love-at-first-sight become the order of the day. But by the end, Prospero has righted the chaos and resolved all conflict, and asks the audience's indulgence to set him free. Likely Shakespeare's last independent play, The Tempest is a fitting capstone to the Bard's prolific career.
The Tempest guide sections