The Tempest Act-Wise Summary (Act II)

The Tempest is considered one of the last plays written by Shakespeare, and is believed to be written during 1610-1611. It is believed that through this play Shakespeare bid farewell to his audiences and that he has used Prospero’s character to voice some of his interior monologues. Today it is considered as one of the best works of Shakespeare and has been adapted and performed in many forms and styles, including operas, paintings and songs.

ReadAct-Wise Summary (Act I) here.


Act II, Scene I

Alonso, his brother Sebastian, the old lord Gonzalo, Prospero’s brother Antonio, and some other lords including Adrian and Francisco, are having a conversation in another part of the island. Alonso is at this time feeling most dejected because he is under the impression that his son Ferdinand has perished in the sea. Gonzalo tries to console him but become unsuccessful. Sebastian and Antonio feel no sympathy for Alonso; and their attitude towards Gonzalo is also disrespectful. These two men mock at every remark Gonzalo makes. From the talk of all these men, it appears that king Alonso had taken his daughter Claribel to Tunis in order to have her married to the king there. It was during their return voyage that the royal fleet of ships had overtaken by a tempest.

Sebastian tells Alonso that he is responsible for the death of his son Ferdinand. If Alonso had not insisted upon his daughter married to an African king, not to a European prince, there would have been no need to make a voyage to a distant land like Tunis.  Gonzalo intervenes and tells them not to rub salt on his wounded heart and turns the subject to his ideals of a commonwealth.

As Gonzalo says, if he were to become the king of this island, he would make the inhabitants to similar status, no crimes, no magistrates, no agriculture and no weapon of war, in this commonwealth, Nature herself would produce all things for all without anybody having to work. Antonio and Sebastian ridicule his idea telling that in Gonzalo’s commonwealth there would be no marriages, and all the women would be whores and man be knaves. Gonzalo remarks that they have made it a habit to laugh at anything and everything. 

Ariel invisibly appears there according to the instructions of Prospero and lures them into a slumber by the power of his music, with the exception of Sebastian and Antonio. Alonso is too yet awake and surprised to see most of his lords have fallen asleep. Sebastian suggests him to sleep to rest his mind and body. Antonio thereupon says that he and Sebastian would stand guard while Alonso takes rest. So, Alonso goes to sleep. Ariel then leaves.

Anotonio tries to poison the mind of Sebastian. Sebastian understands what Antonio is aiming at; but he pretends that he has not understood what Antonio meant to say. Antonio says that Alonso’s heir to the throne was Ferdinand and he perished in the storm and next heir is Claribel who is living in far off land of Tunis.  He suggests to kill Alonso in his sleep and Sebastian can become the king because he would be regarded as legitimate claimant to the throne.

Sebastian then says that Antonio had himself got rid of his brother Prospero, and taken the possession of dukedom of Milan, and questions whether his mind pricks him or not. Antonio replies that, even he had twenty consciences, they would not have prevented him from getting rid of Prospero. Convinced by his argument, Sebastian suggests to kill Gonzalo too with Alonso because he is the only lord who can afterward protest against the murder of Alonso.

Their treacherous plan was shattered by Ariel who arrived just in time and awoke Gonzalo. He then wakes up Alonso and both inquire why both of them are armed with swards. Then Antonio and Sebastian fabricates a lie that they had heard a roaring which seemed to be that of bulls or lions. Alonso and Gonzalo accept this explanation because they do not know the reality of the situation. Ariel leaves to report the incident to Prospero and Alonso gets ready to make another search for his missing son.


Act II – Scene II

Caliban is collecting fuel-wood while cursing Prospero who makes his spirits torment him whenever he neglects performing his duties. Caliban says the spirits appear as monkeys to mock at him and appear as hedgehogs and lie in his path as he walks bare-foot and sometimes they take the shapes of adders and hiss so much as to drive him crazy. When Caliban is taking to himself, Trinculo appears. Trinculo and Stephano are two of the inferior members of King Alonso’s party. Stephano is Alonso’s butler while Trinculo is a jester by profession. Trinculo appears from nowhere and frightens Caliban who has never seen any human being on this island except Prospero and Miranda. He thinks this is one of Prospero’s mischievous spirits sent to torment him. Caliban lies flat on the ground. Trinculo curious about this fish like creature assumes that this is a native of this island who is struck by lightning. As the sky becomes darker, Trinculo hides himself under the cloak of the strange creature whom he has just seen and whose identity is not known to him.

Then appears Stephano who has managed to get hold of a whole cask of wine and under the state of intoxication. He is singing a song in that mood of exultation. Caliban thinks while he is torment by Trinculo, another one too has been sent to torment him. Stephano surprised to see four legged creature, he does not see Trinculo is hidden under the cloak. He, who is not in his right senses pours some wine into Caliban’s mouth.

Trinculo identifies Stephano’s voice and become elated to meet each other. The wine goes to Caliban’s head and now he feels strange exhilaration. He thinks Stephano as a deity who has descended from heaven. He promises become Stephano’s devoted slave and show the excellent sights of this island. Stephano says that, as this island is uninhabited, he would himself become its king. Caliban agrees that and become even more respectful. Triculo is scornful towards Caliban and says that he is an abominable monster. Caliban ignores his comments and is willing to take Stephano to the place where apples-grow in large numbers, to show jay’s nest, to teach him how to catch the nimble monkeys and to get him young sea gulls from the rock. He then asks Stephano to follow him and see these places.


As this summary is rather long, it is published as Acts separately. This summary is found among my old notes. I could not find the original author, so credit should go to the original authors for providing the sources. If you find this post is useful share it among others. Leave a comment to share your valuable ideas with us.



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