The Tempest minimized

Prospero, the duke of Milan, and his three-year old daughter, Miranda, had been sent out into the Mediterranean Sea, having been usurped by his younger brother, Antonio.  His mistake: having spent too much time with his hobby, magic tricks, and too little time governing the city of Milan.  His friend, Gonzalo, however, had provided him and his daughter with the requisite provisions, along with his magic books, just as they were sent out to sea.  That was twelve years ago.

1. A severe storm in the Mediterranean, right off the coast of a remote island, has caused a ship to appear to have sunk, a ship carrying Alonzo, the king of Naples, along with his brother and son. Miranda cries out at her father “if you have put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.” He does. The ship’s passengers land on the island, but Alonzo’s son, Ferdinand, can’t be located. Years ago, a purported witch from Algiers had been exiled to this remote island, but she has died, leaving behind her spirit-servant, Ariel, now Prospero’s spirit-servant. 

2. The ship’s survivors unsuccessfully search for Ferdinand. Always upbeat Gonzalo, who too had been there on the ship, gives the others encouragement, a survivor noting “he receives comfort like cold porridge.”

3. Ariel leads Ferdinand to Miranda, the two falling for each other quickly. Ferdinand charms her with style and grace. Ferdinand passes Prospero’s character test. She says “I am your wife if you will marry me.”  He accepts. Alonzo and his men are exhausted and starved.  Ariel, as a Harpy, sets a well-provisioned banquet table. But as the men sit down to enjoy the dinner, the Harpy jumps up onto the table, causes the food and wine to disappear, and cries “you are men of sin.” The men stare vacantly. Prospero notes from afar “my high charms work.”  He leaves the men right there under his spell.

4. Prospero welcomes Ferdinand into his family, saying “she is thine own.” Prospero presents a morality show for the young couple, an interesting presentation of his thoughts on mortality. 

5. Prospero releases Alonzo and his men from his spell. Prospero and Alonzo welcome each other like long lost friends. Alonzo bemoans the loss of his son. Prospero responds “I have lost my daughter.”  The young couple is playing chess in Prospero’s home as Alonzo is welcomed.  We learn the ship is “seaworthy and bravely rigged.”  Alonzo notes “these are not natural events.”  Prospero plans to return to Naples with the men to “see the nuptial of these our dear-beloved solemnized” and to return to “my Milan.”  He grants Ariel his freedom. 

 

 

Copyright © 2010 Minimized Shakespeare

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