The Tempest Act-Wise Summary (Act V)

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.

ReadAct-Wise Summary (Act II) here.

ReadAct-Wise Summary (Act III) here.

Read Act-Wise Summary (Act IV) here.


Scene I

Prospero tells Ariel that all his plans are now nearing fulfilment. Ariel reveals that he had led Alonso and his companions into a grove of lime-trees near his cell and had left them as prisoners there. As he informs, Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio had become almost crazy and others were full of sorrow and disappointment; they were bewildered by the sight of Harpy and reminding the three sinners who had driven Prospero and his little daughter from Milan. Old Gonzalo feeling so grieved that tears are running down his beard.

Prospero proclaims that as a human he is ready to forgive everyone because forgiveness is nobler than revenge. He further says that his main purpose had been to bring about a change of heart in these sinners and to make them repent of their misdeeds. That purpose has now been achieved, and he has no further intention to punish them, says Prospero. He then asks Ariel to go and unbind his spell, in order to release those men from captivity in the lime-grove.

Prospero then addresses all the natural elements in the island and convey his decision here after. He has now decided to renounce his supernatural powers, and to exercise his magic no more. He is now going to break his magic wand which he would bury deep in the earth; and he would also throw his books of magic into the sea.

Ariel returns with all the culprits; Alonso behaves almost like a madman. They are led to a circle and kept under the magical power of Prospero. He expresses his gratitude to Gonzalo for having provided him with his valuable books when his enemies wanted him to meet a watery death. Then Prospero turns to Sebastian, Alonso and Antonio to remind their crimes committed. Alonso and his brother Sebastian had extended their full support to Antonio’s desire to oust his brother Prospero from the dukedom of Milan and to take his place. Being Prospero’s won flesh and blood, Antonio had been carried away by his ambition and had betrayed him. However, Prospero now forgives them all for their crimes.

Alonso and others stunned by seeing Prospero alive. They believe they only see a phantom in front of them. Prospero changes into his usual clothes of the Duke and appear before them. He asks Ariel to bring the master of the ship and the boatswain to the place.

Alonso and others still cannot believe what they see in front of their eyes. To them, Prospero had died long ago. Prospero hugs Alonso to prove he is made of flesh, blood and bones like others. Half believing what he said, Alonso says that he is willing to restore to him the dukedom of Milan and seek his pardon for the wrong done by them. Prospero insists Sebastian and Antonio to confess their plot to kill him. He then calls upon Antonio, his brother to restore his dukedom to him adding that he has no choice but return what is his due.

Alonso reveals that he had lost his son Ferdinand. Prospero says that he too had lost his daughter. Alonso expresses his sympathy for Prospero and says it would have been very nice if they survived to get married and to become the king and the queen of Naples. Prospero welcomes them to his cell to show a wonderful sight which would greatly please Alonso’s heart. Alonso feels delighted to see Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess. Ferdinand too delighted to see his father alive while Miranda is thrilled to see so handsome human beings. Ferdinand introduces Miranda as his future wife; Alonso inquires whether she is a deity. Prospero introduces her as the daughter of the famous Duke of Milan, namely Prospero. Alonso asks the young lady to forgive him for the manner in which she had been treated when she was an infant.

Gonzalo realizes the bright side of everything. King Alonso’s daughter Claribel has got married at Tunis, Ferdinand now found a wife. The dukedom is restored, all the passengers found themselves again. Ariel re-enters the scene with the master of the ship and boatswain who informs the king that their ship has been metrically repaired itself and is in a perfect condition for sail.

Ariel again brings Caliban and his two accomplices. Prospero reveals their plot to murder him and introduces Caliban as a rogue who is the bastard son of a powerful witch. Caliban knows that he is to be severely punished but Prospero instruct him to clean the cell properly to get forgiveness. Caliban feels sorry for what he had done and promises to behave properly if he is pardoned. Alonso and all the members of his party to take rest in the cell for one night and to be escorted to the ship in next morning then they would be able to sail to Naples. Prospero says that he would go with them and after the marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda, he would return to his dukedom in Milan. Prospero also releases Ariel from all the bonds and obligations and tells him that he is now perfectly free.


The Epilogue

The play ends with an epilogue. The actor, who had performed the role of Prospero, says to the audience; “I stand before you not as Prospero who possessed supernatural powers. Now, I stand before you as the actor who had performed the role of Prospero. You must now applaud me for the pleasure which I gave you during the performance of the play. I seek your Christian mercy, just as you would seek divine mercy for your own faults and shortcomings”.

That is the end of the summary of the play The Tempest by William Shakespeare. This is an adapted version of a summary taken from a note. The credit should go to the original authors. This post is written mainly for the purpose of study purposes therefore; we strongly recommend not to misuse the intellectual property. Hope this complete summary will help you to start reading and comprehending the play and to have a better understanding of it. You can read the other scenes using the links above. Share the post if you find this is useful to others.





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