Quotes in Context

"A Very Ancient And Fish-like Smell"

Context: Trinculo, a jester, one of several survivors of a shipwreck, comes upon Caliban, a deformed and beastlike creature who is a slave to Prospero, a magician and the rightful Duke of Milan, who has been living with his daughter Miranda on the island to which the survivors of the shipwreck have come. Believing Trinculo to be one of Prospero's captive spirits, Caliban attempts to hide, but Trinculo sees him and thinks that in England he could make his fortune exhibiting such a monster:

. . .
What have we here? A man, or a fish? Dead or alive? A fish: he smells like a fish. A very ancient and fish-like smell. A kind of, not of the newest, Poor-John. A strange fish. Were I in England now, as once I was, and had but this fish painted, not a holiday fool there but would give a piece of silver. There would this monster make a man. Any strange beast there makes a man. When they will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian.
. . .

"Full Fathom Five"

Context: Duke Prospero of Milan, his throne usurped by his evil brother Antonio, lives in exile on an island with his daughter Miranda and with a spirit, Ariel, and a savage, Caliban, enthralled by his powers as a sorcerer. At Prospero's behest Ariel causes a storm in which the passengers and crew of a ship, Antonio and other noblemen of Milan and Naples, are cast into the sea and then are allowed to reach Prospero's island safely. Disguised as a water nymph, Ariel, singing, bewitches young Prince Ferdinand, bringing him to Prospero and Miranda. Ariel's words–"Full fathom five thy father lies"–Ferdinand construes to mean that his father has drowned. One stanza of Ariel's song goes:

ARIEL sings.
Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made.
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
[Burden within. Ding-dong.]
Hark, now I hear them–Ding-dong bell.

"He That Dies Pays All Debts"

Context: During a great tempest a ship is driven onto a mysterious island. Everyone aboard survives, but all become separated, and individuals and groups wander about the island. They are unaware that everything, including the storm itself, is controlled by Prospero, a magician, who rules the island. Stephano, a drunken butler, and Trinculo, a jester, stumble individually into Caliban, a brutish monster, offspring of a witch, who is a servant of Prospero. Caliban, given liquor by Stephano, swears himself his subject and kisses his feet. The three then plot to kill Prospero and seize the island. Stephano is to be king and Miranda, Prospero's daughter, his queen-consort. But Ariel, a sprite of the air working for Prospero, overhears the plot and before reporting it to his master, has sport with the grotesque trio by invisibly playing a tune on a tabor and pipe.

This is the tune of our catch, played by the picture of Nobody.
If thou beest a man, show thyself in thy likeness.
If thou beest a devil, take't as thou list.
O forgive me my sins.
He that dies pays all debts. I defy thee. Mercy upon us!

"Here's My Hand"

Context: Prospero, a magician, rules a mysterious island, commanding spirits of the air, including Ariel, and a strange monster, offspring of a witch, named Caliban. Prospero has a daughter, Miranda. Twelve years earlier, Prospero had been Duke of Milan, but had lost his dukedom to an unscrupulous, usurping brother. Now, through his powers of necromancy, he has caused a tempest which drives a ship onto his island. On the ship are his usurping brother, the King of Naples and his son, Ferdinand. Prospero has Ferdinand led to him and Miranda by means of Ariel's magical singing. Ferdinand comes, sees Miranda, and falls in love with her. Miranda, never having seen a man, other than her father, thinks he is a spirit, but assured by her father that Ferdinand is a man, she, too, falls in love.

My husband then?
Ay, with a heart as willing
As bondage e'er of freedom. Here's my hand.
And mine, with my heart in't. . . .

"I Shall Laugh Myself To Death"

Context: This line has become commonplace in everyday parlance. During a fierce tempest in the play, a ship is separated from its fleet and is driven onto an island. Various survivors wander about, unaware that all, including the storm itself, is controlled by Prospero, a magician, who rules the island. Two shipwrecked souls, Stephano, a drunk butler, and Trinculo, a jester, stumble upon Caliban, a misshapen monster who is dominated by Prospero. Caliban, accustomed only to spirits and sprites, is at first in fear of them. But when he tastes Stephano's liquor, he is convinced Stephano is a god. He offers to kiss his feet and swear himself his subject. Trinculo is amazed and amused.

Come on then. Down and swear.
I shall laugh myself to death at the puppy-headed monster. A most scurvy monster. I could find in my heart to beat him.
Come, kiss.

"I Would Fain Die A Dry Death"

Context: A ship bearing noblemen of Milan and Naples, encountering a storm produced by the conjuring of Prospero (the rightful Duke of Milan, whose throne has been usurped by his wicked brother Antonio), is wrecked off the coast of the island occupied by Prospero. As the occupants begin their struggle to reach the island, Gonzalo, an old and trusted friend of Prospero, gasps:

Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea, for an acre of barren ground. Long heath, brown furze, any thing. The wills above be done, but I would fain die a dry death. [Exit.]

"In The Dark Backward And Abysm Of Time"

Context: On an island lives the magician Prospero and his daughter Miranda. Twelve years earlier Prospero was Duke of Milan, but, while he was absorbed in his studies of magic, his brother usurped his dukedom and set Prospero and Miranda adrift on the sea. They would have died but for the help of Gonzalo, a loyal counselor, who provisioned and equipped the boat and provided Prospero with his magic paraphernalia. Now, Prospero decides the time is come to tell Miranda who she is and about their past, but he wishes to know all she remembers from her babyhood. She dimly recalls that four or five women tended her.

Thou hadst; and more Miranda. But how is it
That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
If thou rememb'rest aught ere thou cam'st here,
How thou cam'st here thou mayst.

"My Library Was Dukedom Large Enough"

Context: Prospero, a magician, lives on an island with his daughter Miranda. The girl is now fifteen years old, and her father thinks it is time she is told about his earlier life. He relates to her how he, who was the Duke of Milan, allowed the affairs of government to drift into the hands of his unscrupulous brother, Antonio. Prospero describes his own absorption while his power was slipping away. His mind was on the study of liberal arts.

. . .
Me, poor man, my library
Was dukedom large enough: of temporal royalties
He thinks me now incapable.
. . .

"O Brave New World That Has Such People In It!"

Context: Prospero, formerly Duke of Milan, and now a skilled magician, rules an enchanted island. With him is his daughter, the beautiful Miranda. Prospero divines that his brother, Antonio, who usurped his dukedom, and King Alonso, who helped Antonio accomplish the theft twelve years before, are passing the island in a ship. He causes a wild tempest which drives the ship ashore. All the ship's passengers survive but are separated. After various adventures, Prospero causes the whole company to come to him. He reveals himself and forgives all. Miranda has seen only one person in addition to her father, and now, when she sees the assembled company, she is delighted with the prospects of a world that has such beautiful inhabitants.

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here.
How beauteous mankind is. O brave new world
That has such people in't!
'Tis new to thee.

"Suffer A Sea-change"

Context: Prospero, Duke of Milan, preoccupied with learning, delegates to his unscrupulous and ambitious brother Antonio many of the affairs of state. Antonio, working with Alonso, King of Naples, usurps the dukedom and puts Prospero and his daughter Miranda adrift on the sea. Luckily, the boat, equipped with his magical accoutrements, brings them to an island inhabited only by a monster Caliban, offspring of the witch, Sycorax. Prospero, perfecting his art of sorcery, has ruled the island for twelve years, commanding spirits of the air, including Ariel, and enslaving brutish Caliban. Prospero knows his brother and Alonso are on a ship near the island and causes a tempest which drives the ship ashore. He causes the travelers to be separated and bewitched. The first ship-wrecked passenger we meet is Ferdinand, son of King Alonso, led to Prospero's cave by Ariel's magic singing. (The last three lines quoted below are inscribed on the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley's gravestone.)

ARIEL [sings]
Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made.
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
. . .

"The Still-vexed Bermoothes"

Context: The conjurer Prospero, his dukedom of Milan usurped by his wicked brother Antonio, lives with his daughter Miranda on an island, served by a spirit, Ariel, and a lowly creature, Caliban. Prospero dispatches Ariel to supervise the wrecking of the ship of Antonio and other noblemen of Milan and Naples off the island during a storm. Ariel tells Prospero that his will has been obeyed–the passengers, all safe, are scattered about the island, and the ship is anchored safely in a harbor that Prospero will remember, because he once summoned Ariel to that place, ordering him to bring him some dew from the ever-stormy Bermudas (the still-vexed Bermoothes):

Safely in harbour
Is the King's ship, in the deep nook, where once
Thou call'dst me up at midnight to fetch dew
From the still-vexed Bermoothes, there she's hid;
The mariners all under hatches stowed,
Who, with a charm joined to their suffered labour,
I have left asleep. And for the rest o' the fleet,
Which I dispersed, they all have met again,
And are upon the Mediterranean float,
Bound sadly home for Naples,
Supposing that they saw the King's ship wrecked,
And his great person perish.

"They'll Take Suggestion As A Cat Laps Milk"

Context: On an island are a number of survivors of a shipwreck. Among them are Antonio, the usurping Duke of Milan; Alonso, King of Naples; and Sebastian, his brother. Believing Alonso's son Ferdinand to be dead, Antonio privately tells Sebastian that if Alonso were dead Sebastian could become King of Naples. Because of Ferdinand's supposed death, the rightful heir to the throne of Naples would be Alonso's daughter Claribel, Queen of Tunis. But Antonio hints that Sebastian can usurp the throne of Naples as Antonio once usurped his brother Prospero's dukedom of Milan. Let not Sebastian's prudence or conscience hold him back, counsels Antonio. If Antonio murders Alonso (who is sleeping nearby), Sebastian's usurpation will be accepted just as Antonio's was:

. . .
Here lies your brother,
No better than the earth he lies upon,
If he were that which now he's like–that's dead–
Whom I with this obedient steel, three inches of it,
Can lay to bed forever; whiles you doing thus,
To the perpetual wink for aye might put
This ancient morsel, this Sir Prudence, who
Should not upbraid our course. For all the rest,
They'll take suggestion as a cat laps milk;
They'll tell the clock to any business that
We say befits the hour.

"This Music Crept By Me Upon The Waters"

Context: The learned Duke Prospero of Milan, his throne usurped by his wicked brother Antonio, lives on an island with his daughter Miranda, a spirit, Ariel, and a savage creature, Caliban. Using sorcery and the assistance of Ariel, Prospero causes the ship of Antonio and other noblemen of Milan and Naples to wreck near his island, though the men aboard all reach shore safely. Ariel, in the form of a water nymph, employs bewitching music to entice Prince Ferdinand of Naples to Prospero and Miranda. In wonder at his experience, Ferdinand exclaims:

Where should this music be? I' the air, or the earth?
It sounds no more. And sure it waits upon
Some god o' the island. Sitting on a bank,
Weeping again the King my father's wreck,
This music crept by me upon the waters,
Allaying both their fury and my passion
With its sweet air. Thence I have followed it,
Or it hath drawn me rather–but 'tis gone.
No, it begins again.

"We Are Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On"

Context: Prospero, a magician, rules a mysterious island, commanding spirits of the air, including Ariel and other sprites and wonders. He has a lovely daughter named Miranda. The magician causes a tempest which drives a ship onto shore. All on it survive, but Prospero causes a handsome young prince, Ferdinand, to be separated from the others, and has Ariel lead Ferdinand to him. Ferdinand, enchanted, sees Miranda, and falls in love with her, and she with him. Now, before his cell, Prospero presents for Prince Ferdinand, whom he has released from enchantment, and Miranda, a prenuptial pageant, enacted by spirits in the guise of Iris, Juno, Ceres, and nymphs. Suddenly, he puts an end to the masque with a famous speech.

. . .
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
All melted into air, into thin air,
. . .
And like this insubstantial pageant faded
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
. . .

"What's Past Is Prologue"

Context: Antonio, the usurping Duke of Milan, and Alonso, the King of Naples, together with Alonso's brother, Sebastian, an aged counselor, Gonzales, and others, are at sea, and, during a tempest, their ship is driven ashore on an island. They believe themselves to be the only survivors, and that Alonso's son, Ferdinand, is dead. Weary, all fall asleep except Sebastian and Antonio. Antonio, who stole his dukedom from his brother, hints to Sebastian that he can kill his brother, Alonso, and become the new King of Naples. Sebastian demurs, asserting the heir to the throne is Claribel, the Queen of Tunis. Antonio scoffs at him and continues his insidious suggestions.

. . .
She that dwells
Ten leagues beyond man's life. She that from Naples
Can have no note, unless the sun were post–
The man-i'-th'-moon's too slow–till new-born chins
Be rough and razorable. She that–from whom
We all were sea-swallowed, though some cast again,
And, by that destiny, to perform an act
Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come,
In yours and my discharge.

"Where The Bee Sucks, There Suck I"

Context: Prospero, formerly Duke of Milan and now a master magician, rules a mysterious, enchanted island. He commands Ariel, a spirit of the air, who does his magic bidding. Ariel looks forward eagerly to his freedom but meanwhile serves Prospero faithfully. Now, by means of a tempest and a shipwreck, he brings Prospero's old enemies and some friends before him into his magic circle. Ariel busily helps his master don his old ducal robes so that, when the magician releases the group before him from their enchantment, they will recognize him. As Ariel flits about he sings a charming song to his imminent freedom.

Where the bee sucks, there suck I.
In a cowslip's bell I lie.
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.