The Tempest Act-Wise Summary (Act III)


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.

Read Act-Wise Summary (Act I) here.

Read The Tempest Act-Wise Summary (Act II) here.

The Tempest Act III - Scene - I

Ferdinand is performing a labour which has been imposed upon him by Prospero. He carries logs of wood and speaks to himself. As he says, the thought of the beauty and sweetness of Miranda helps him to perform this labour without feeling tired. After a little while, Miranda herself comes and seeing him working so hard, feels very sympathetic towards him. She asks him to have a rest as Prospero is very busy with his studies. She even offers to carry the logs on behalf of him, for which Ferdinand resists saying that he would rather let his labour break his back than allowing her to perform this degrading labour.

However, Prospero is present nearby hidden looking happily at both getting closer to each other. Ferdinand asks her name and she reveals her name telling that revealing her name might offend her father. Ferdinand admires her beauty telling that she is a paragon of beauty and gentleness. Miranda says she cannot judge her attractions as she has never seen any woman rather than her own reflection. However, she vows not to have any other companion in this world except him. Ferdinand again stresses of his royal inheritance to be the king and he too vows to remain devoted to her as he fell in love with her on her first sight. Further, he says he values and honours her beyond anything else in this world. Hearing these words Miranda begins to weep. She frankly says that she would become his wife if he marries her or she would become his life-long maidservant if he does not marry her. Ferdinand too says that he would always remain a devoted lover and servant and he would willingly marry her. Prospero rejoices over the intimacy which has developed between them.


Scene – II

Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban are under the spirit of drinking. Stephano says that he would make Caliban his lieutenant; and Caliban says that he would not merely serve Stephano but lick his shoes. He further says that he would not serve Trinculo as he mocks at him. Caliban appeals Stephano to stop Trinculo abusing him. At this moment Ariel appears and causes a quarrel between Stephano and Trinculo by making a couple of remarks.

Caliban suggests to kill Prospero to become the king of the island. Caliban claims his ownership to the island and says Prospero had made himself deprived him of his monarchy by his magical and supernatural powers. Caliban offers to serve Stephano faithfully and devotedly in case Stephano manages to kill Prospero. He says that Prospero is in the habit of going to sleep in the afternoons, and that Stephano should knock out his brains when he lies asleep. But Stephano must first seize Prospero’s books because without books, he would become utterly helpless.

Caliban then tempts Stephano by talking about the beauty of Miranda whom Stephano can win as his wife after putting Prospero to death. Falling into the desire, he vows to kill Prospero and take her as his queen and appoint Trinculo and Caliban as his deputies. Overhearing the conversation, Ariel begins a tune for which all three men begin to sing in their state of jubilation and intoxication. Stephano gets afraid because he cannot see anybody though he can hear a tune being played by someone. Caliban tells him that this island is full of noises, sounds and sweet tunes which delight the listeners but cause no harm to anybody. Stephano is happy that he is going to be the king of an excellent country where he would hear music without having to pay for it. Caliban again reminds him the necessity to kill Prospero to become the king. Stephano asks Caliban to lead them to the place where Prospero lies asleep to execute the plan. 


Scene III

King Alonso and his companions roam about in another part of the island in search of Ferdinand. Gonzalo begins to feel very tired because, being and old man he finds it difficult to walk on. Alonso understands this and he himself admits that he is also tired. They sit down to rest and wonders if their search would be futile. Meanwhile Sebastian and Antonio remark privately to utilize the very next opportunity to kill Alonso and Gonzalo.

Just then Prospero appears to watch what goes on. Under his instructions, appear strange shapes with large number of dishes with delicious eatables. They dance and invite the astonished group to eat the food. Sebastian says that he can believe even in the existence of unicorns and phoenix by seeing at the strange shapes. Just when they are about to begin eating, Ariel enters disguised as a Harpy. (A monster having the face of a woman) Harpy strikes the table with its wings and in the twinkling of an eye the banquet disappears.

Harpy declares that Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio are three great sinners whom swallowed by the sea first under the direction of Destiny which governs the lives of all human beings and further says that they are most unfit to live. When Alonso and others draw their swords to attack Harpy he declares that nobody can hurt it because he and the fellow spirits are the agents of Fate. He then reminds the injustice which they had done in collaboration with one another to Prospero and his infant daughter several years back. Ariel further says that Alonso has been deprived of his son under the orders of Fate and the other sinners are too to be punished severely unless they repent their misdeed. Ariel disappears with a thunder and the shapes come with a soft music mocking and dancing around them. Prospero congratulates Ariel upon his mastery of deception and opts to pay a visit to young Ferdinand.

Alonso has felt greatly frightened by the words of Harpy and he is certain that his son is dead. He thinks life to be no longer worth and prefers to die. Sebastian says he is ready to fight against any monster and Antonio says that he would support him. Gonzalo tells Adreian that the three of them are desperate and might do something reckless. He therefore asks Adreian and others to go after the three men and prevent them from any rash action. Then he himself goes with them. 


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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