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The Tempest Commentary - Act V.

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Act V. Scene I. - Before the Cell of Prospero.

Miranda: "O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, / That has such people in 't!"

Prospero brings everyone except Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo before him in a circle. Spellbound, he verbally reprimands several of the men who exiled him. Prospero tells Ariel that he will soon be free and that that he will miss him. Prospero also intends to destroy his ability to use magic.

Making his presence known, Prospero forgives King Alonso, and tells Sebastian and Antonio he will keep secret their plan to kill Alonso, forgiving both.

The famously sweet scene of Ferdinand playing chess with Miranda occurs. Prospero forgives Stephano and Trinculo. Caliban is embarrassed that he followed a fool (Trinculo). Caliban is given his freedom. Prospero announces that in the morning they will all set sail for Milan. Ariel is set free.

Prospero now dressed in his magic robes, is accompanied by Ariel. His plan is coming to it's conclusion, "Now does my project gather to a head:" (now my project or plan gathers to its head or conclusion), (Line 1).

Prospero asks Ariel about the status of the King and his followers. Ariel tells him that they are "Confin'd together" (confined together) in the same way as Prospero had earlier commanded Ariel; they are in the "line-grove" which borders Prospero's cell and will not move until Prospero demands it. The King and his brother Sebastian and Antonio are distracted, the rest, largely mourning over them, including "'The good old lord Gonzalo:'" (Line 14).

Prospero commands Ariel to release them (Lines 20-32). Prospero now alone, explains that he will soon break his magic staff, and drown his magic book once his final task is complete. He also recalls all the magic feats he was capable of on this island (Lines 33-56).

Ariel now returns, bringing with him Alonso, Gonzalo, Sebastian, Antonio, Adrian and Francisco. All enter into a circle, Prospero has made and now Prospero speaks to his "spell-stopp'd" (spell-stopped or spellbound) audience (Line 61).

He praises Gonzalo and reprimands Alonso for his cruel actions against him and his daughter (Line 72). He decides to forgive both his brother Antonio and Sebastian who would "have kill'd your king [King Alonso];" (Line 78).

Noting that not one of his spellbound audience "would know [recognize] me" (Line 83), Prospero commands Ariel to fetch his hat and rapier from his cell. He also reminds Ariel to be quick, for soon he will be free.

Ariel returns, singing and Prospero tells Ariel how much he will soon miss him (Lines 93-100). He commands Ariel to now to head to the ship invisibly and bring "the master and the boatswain" of the ship to Prospero.

Prospero now makes his presence known to the King and his followers. The King, now deeply embarrassed, disgraced and remorseful of his actions, proclaims loudly his guilt to Prospero and returns to Prospero his dukedom of Milan (Lines 112-120).

Speaking only to Sebastian and Antonio, Prospero makes it very clear that he knows what they were going to do to their King. Prospero however will keep this a secret.

"I here could pluck his highness' [Alonso's] frown upon you, / And justify you traitors: at this time / I will tell no tales" Prospero darkly warns (Line 126).

Prospero even forgives his brother (Lines 130-134) but tells him that he will "require / My dukedom of thee [you], which, perforce, I know, / Thou [you] must restore" (Line 132).

Alonso now mourns for his son. Prospero joins him, mourning for his lost daughter (she will soon be married to Ferdinand), (Lines 138-171).

Alonso is confused, but the entrance to Prospero's cell now opens to find the sight of Ferdinand and Prospero, sweetly playing chess together.

Ferdinand greets his father and Miranda remarks on the beauty of mankind: "O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, / That has such people in't!" (Lines 181-183).

Alonso asks Ferdinand about Miranda, whom Ferdinand explains he has taken for his wife thinking his father dead. Alonso now gives his blessing (Lines 185-197) and Prospero tells Alonso to forget the past. "Let us not burden our remembrances / With a heaviness that's gone" Prospero says (Line 199).

Ariel now returns, bringing in an amazed Master and Boatswain who explains that they have now found "Our king and company:" and that their ship is now fit for sea (Line 221).

Prospero tells Alonso not to question these strange happenings too deeply (Line 246) and Prospero now tells Ariel to set "Caliban and his companions free;" (Line 252).

Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano are brought in, wearing their stolen clothing. Antonio remarks that one of them (Caliban) "Is a plain fish, and, no doubt, marketable" (is a plain fish and no doubt marketable or capable of earning money), (Line 266).

Prospero tells King and company of Caliban's mother (Line 269) and now Trinculo and Stephano who are both extremely drunk are told to return their clothes back to where they found them (Line 298).

All three are remorseful, especially Caliban who is especially embarrassed that he took a drunkard for a god, saying that, "I'll be wise hereafter, / And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass / Was I, to take this drunkard for a god, / And worship this dull fool!" (Lines 294-296).

Prospero now invites the King and his followers to stay the night in his cell where he will tell them of his time on the island. In the morning they shall all set sail for Milan and Prospero now tells Ariel that he is free.

Epilogue:

Prospero asks the audience to free him to travel back to Naples reclaiming his life as the right Duke of Milan.

Prospero, now without any magic powers, asks his audience to let him travel to Naples. Asking to be released from his island by the audience's hands (clapping), Prospero asks for prayer so that at the audience's indulgence, Prospero may at last be set free.

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